John Waters Releases CARSICK

John Waters Releases CARSICK

John Waters's (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray) newest book, Carsick, tells the true story of how in 2012 he hitchhiked from Baltimore to San Francisco. GQcalled him to ask how the hell he persuaded all those people-octogenarian farmers, indie rockers, acidheads, Republican politicians, and a cop-to give him a lift. Excerpts below:

Q. If you were just a normal person driving down the road, would you pick up John Waters?

A. First of all, they didn't see "John Waters." They saw a 67-year-old homeless man. Some of them tried to give me money! Even though in the beginning I said, "Oh, I hope I don't get recognized," in the ten minutes when I didn't get a ride, well, I was praying to be recognized.

Q. What was it like back in the heyday of hitchhiking?

A. Much more sexual. But hitchhiking is sexual. I have so many porn books I collect with hitchhiking covers...

Q. Did you ever hook up with a driver back in the day?

A. Of course! Are you kidding? Yes! Everybody I know did.

Q. Walk me through the packing process for a trip like this.

A. I wanted to bring as little as I could. My assistants made me get the tracking device [a SPOT satellite messenger], and they made me get the hiking boots. I only took five pairs of underpants, so I could throw a pair away every day, which of course I didn't ultimately do, because the trip took longer. I really had just one bag [a fake crocodile skin tote] and another little book bag with the cardboard signs in it. I only took two credit cards and my license-you forget that when you're on the road hitchhiking you don't need all that stuff. And I didn't want to take a lot, in case I got robbed.

Q. Anything you wish you'd brought, in hindsight?

A. Yeah, I didn't have my cuticle scissors, so I couldn't trim my mustache. But I found some-I went on an emergency trip to a Walmart, where I've never been in my entire life, to get a pair.

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About Carsick

A cross-country hitchhiking journey with America's most beloved weirdo John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin mustache, and a cardboard sign that reads "I'm Not Psycho," he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried about, the delicate film director with genteel manners or the unsuspecting travelers transporting the Pope of Trash?

Before he leaves for this bizarre adventure, Waters fantasizes about the best and worst possible scenarios: a friendly drug dealer hands over piles of cash to finance films with no questions asked, a demolition-derby driver makes a filthy sexual request in the middle of a race, a gun-toting drunk terrorizes and holds him hostage, and a Kansas vice squad entraps and throws him in jail. So what really happens when this cult legend sticks out his thumb and faces the open road? His real-life rides include a gentle eighty-one-year-old farmer who is convinced Waters is a hobo, an indie band on tour, and the perverse filmmaker's unexpected hero: a young, sandy-haired Republican in a Corvette.
Laced with subversive humor and warm intelligence, Carsick is an unforgettable vacation with a wickedly funny companion-and a celebration of America's weird, astonishing, and generous citizenry.