I have a newfound respect for truck drivers.
When I first met Poor Kyle, he was a semi truck driver. Clean shaven and hygienic though he was, I always felt like he could do so much more with his life than drive a truck around the country. I mean…any person over the age of 18 could drive a truck, right? [I was also slightly bitter that I only got to see him two days out of the week—that might have had something to do with my prejudice towards his profession.] A few months after we met, though, he quit his job on the road to work in what is now our lifeblood—The Family Business. His new job with The Family Business would still be dealing with semi trucks—just not driving them. And the hours there were 8-5, which was much more conducive to a newborn relationship. Needless to say, I supported the career change, and to this day, I silently cross my fingers that he will never go through a mid-life crisis, grow a crusty handlebar mustache and buy a $200,000 Peterbilt to go touring the world for some transport company. It’s one of my greatest fears [along with tile mosaics and the texture of raspberries].
Anyway, since then, we’ve taken countless—and I do mean countless—road trips together. There have been only two situations during all those trips that I’ve taken the wheel, and they were short-lived situations at that, because Poor Kyle likes to drive—he really does. He likes machines with wheels, and he likes things that go “vroom.” Stereotypical as it sounds, my husband is the spouse who deals with the vehicles. I’m okay with that; it means I get to play the alphabet game with myself, and hook up the MacBook to type my blog’s nightly post.
This past month, though, Poor Kyle got a new assignment at The Family Business. The company is dipping its proverbial toes into the pool of “buying and selling trailers of all shapes and sizes.” Poor Kyle is the one who gets to pick up the trailers from Oregon and Idaho, and haul them back to O, Canada. The GPS is the one who gets to navigate these excursions. And I am the one who gets to go along for the ride.
Yesterday marked the maiden voyage for the new shop truck (it’s a big white Ford Fsomething50), and we’ve been on the road for hours. And hours. Now that I’ve experienced firsthand what a truck driver’s job entails, I am eating mud. I would like to publicly announce on the World Wide Web for all to read:
I am sorry I ever considered truck driving to be a cop-out of a career. Do people need a degree to do it? No. Should they? Absolutely—it’s that complicated. Did you know that truck drivers have to account for every minute spent on the job—whether driving or not—in fifteen minute increments? I didn’t. They have to record their every waking moment in something called a “log book.” Log books are scary and involve carbon paper, and I try to stay far away from them. Also, trucks hauling stuff—depending on what kind of truck they are—are only allowed to carry 12,000 lbs. on the steer axles, 30,000 lbs. on the drive axles (of which there are two), and extra weight is a giant problem involving load shifting, axle lifting, and great big fines. Whatever an axle is…
On top of all that, the only commercial areas with parking lots big enough to accommodate semi trucks are, naturally, truck stops (Poor Kyle is partial to the Flying J). And though the selection of energy beverages is actually quite impressive at said truck stops, I’ve been hard-pressed to find food with any real nutritional value here. Strangely, though, the Flying J always seems to have a handy supply of hard-boiled eggs. I’m a poultry lover myself, but I would actually rather eat toilet paper from the Flying J than a package of under-refrigerated hard-boiled eggs that have been sitting there for who knows how long.
So please: truck drivers of the world, accept my apology. Most of you are greasy because you have mean old dispatchers who push you to your limit of sanity, and you don’t have time to stop for a shower. Most of you have giant bellies because the only food that appeals to you while on the road are XXL cans of green flavoured (yes, they’re calling “green” a flavour now) Monster and a jumbo bag of David’s sunflower seeds. Most of you are angry with life because you don’t have your sweet wife sitting shotgun—in fact, she’s probably at home complaining to your best friend about how you miss all the kids’ hockey games, and your marriage is really taking a hard hit for it all.
I apologise for thinking ill of you.