The fast friendship between a conservative town councilman in Myersville and a liberal Hollywood director continues to evolve.
It was about two weeks ago that Myersville Town Councilman Brett Bidle unknowingly picked up Baltimore-based film director John Waters, who was hitch-hiking along Md. 17. The director of “Hairspray” and “Pink Flamingos” is writing a book about his experience hitch-hiking cross country.
The 20-year-old elected official was driving to Joplin, Mo., to help repair damage from a deadly tornado that struck the town one year ago. He took an indirect route, arriving in Joplin on Saturday. He is expected to return in early June.
The pair talked about their divergent political views during a four-hour car ride, and continued to stay in touch through text messages after Bidle dropped off Waters in Ohio on May 15.
Since then, Bidle gave Waters a second ride, after running into him at a hotel in Denver, Colo.
The next morning, they drove Bidle’s Kia Sorento to Salt Lake City, Utah then on to Reno, Nev., before Waters wanted to hitch-hike the rest of the way to California so he could gather more material for his book.
A call to Waters’ literary agent was not returned, but Waters offered Bidle a place to stay when he got to San Francisco, and spent several days showing him around town.
Bidle said San Francisco’s famous cable cars were his favorite thing about the city, as well as the views of the city built on rolling hills that are unlike anything you’ll find in Frederick County, he said.
He left San Francisco on May 24 and reached Joplin on May 26.
The trip west went smoothly despite being completely spur-of-the-moment, Bidle said.
“It just worked out perfectly,” he said.
In about two weeks, he’d gone from not recognizing Waters when he first picked him up in Myersville to observing people’s reaction when they spotted the famous director.
Waters couldn’t go anywhere without people recognizing him, in part because of his distinctive look that includes a famous pencil-thin mustache, Bidle said.
“I think it’s the mustache,” Bidle said. “Or the clothes he wears. I can’t figure out which.”
While the experience was positive — even drawing national headlines — Bidle said he acknowledges the dangers of picking up hitch-hikers and is unsure whether he’ll do it again in the future.
He decided to pick up Waters after feeling guilty about not helping a hitch-hiker, also along Md. 17, a few weeks before he saw Waters.
Bidle told himself he would pick up the next person he saw.