This is a response to the Valentine's Day question: how to meet the chick in the next car, or The Highway Pickup. This is also a true story.

Back in 1960 I was a grad student at Stanford, and this happened to the woman I was dating at the time. (I fell in love with her, which should make it a good Valentine story. But it didn't work out, and now I look back on the whole thing in the way that I imagine reformed addicts look back at their time on drugs.)

Back to the story. She was driving up to the city from Palo Alto early one morning, on Bay Shore freeway. As she was passing though San Mateo, a car pulled beside her and kept pace for some time. The guy driving the car held up a sign that said: "Coffee at the airport?"

She smiled and nodded. He pulled ahead, she followed him and he bought coffee and a doughnut for her at a snack bar in one of the terminals.

Two the things about this story interest me:

1. This was NOT the reason I never married her.

2. How did the guy write the sign while traveling at 60 mph on a busy highway? I have finally decided he probably didn't write it in the car. He had it ready to use if the chance arose. He probably had a variety of the them: "Coffee in South S.F." "Coffee on Market Street?"

Good luck on your research--maybe you can make a book out of it and sell it for real money.

Phil Woods


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