It is strange how little I listen to the radio when I’m driving. In a car, I will blast the radio, or a CD (yes, some people still listen to those), from the time I reverse out the driveway until I reach my destination. Sure, I’ve even been known to cruise around the block once or twice if the right song was on.
In the truck, however, I would rather just listen to what’s happening around me. In part because I want to listen to the truck. Since I’m new, I’m absorbing all the sounds, listening for any rattle, any air leak. Or, a tire blowing out. But also, frankly, I’m not that interested. Like Depeche Mode, I enjoy the silence.
There is something to watching the miles roll by. Being in the moment, even if that moment is just landscapes and cityscapes rushing past at 60 miles an hour.
I remember reading a post on a trucking message board. The thread was started by someone interested in trucking, and wanted to get peoples opinions. There are copious threads like these, at least one a day, and as such, the responses were the same as well; be prepared to be away from home, long hours, low pay, over regulation, etc. However, one person responded by saying, “You really need to know if you are comfortable being with yourself, for long periods. Just you and your thoughts. Some people can’t stand their own company.” I thought that was interesting. And true.
I bring this up because today was mostly about me being alone. I set out in the morning, the Qualcomm (the truck’s all seeing, all knowing, computer) gave me info on what trailer to pick up and where to deliver it. Which I did. Then the next assignment came over, and I’m currently in the middle of that run. Tomorrow, hopefully, the magic box will again give me a quest to go on. A mission to accomplish.
The last two weeks I was on the phone with my DBL Martha daily, several times a day, in fact. And look where that got me. A lot of frustration, that’s where. Today, I communicated with her mostly through the magic box. I’m sensing she would prefer that. Suits me.
I’ve said that I got into trucking to get away from people. Be careful what you wish for.
However bad it got over these last two weeks were, at least nobody ever said that eternal, glorious phrase, “I’d like to speak to your manager.”
One of the few people I did manage to dialogue with was an extremely smug security guard. I won’t go into the details, but basically she laid down the law, the governing principle of her barren, concrete fiefdom, and I was forced to obey. That was the one time I called Martha today, hoping that she would flex her supervisory muscle and make something happen. Alas, she acquiesced to the guards demands. Actually, she folded faster than Superman on laundry day. As I went back to complete the task that I was hoping to get out from doing, all I could see was that security guards smug smile, her victorious smile. Great, lady, you just gave some random trucker another half hour of work. For essentially no reason other than to flaunt your own authority. Congratulations, and well done.
I had some brief home time this weekend, hopefully I’ll try to write more about that later. Also, I’m trying out some different food choices for the road. It doesn’t make sense to eat out every night on the road, I’m spending money as fast as I’m making it at that rate. I bought some bread, peanut butter and jelly, and some snacks. Ritz crackers and Pop Tarts. I’m such a child. I’m open to ideas, please feel free to leave eating suggestions in the comments. Please note, however, that I don’t have a fridge, or a microwave. This is roughing it, people. It’s worse than camping.
In general, as I enter this third week, I think I might be over the hump. Everything started making a strange sort of sense today. Or, better, I can at least start to see how the pieces fit together, instead of just seeing them fall clumsily to the floor, with no understanding of what I’m supposed to do with them. Or even how many pieces I should have in the first place.
That said, it is only Monday. And you know you can’t trust that day.