[UPDATE 03-20-2011] This post has nothing to do with gay truckers, or homosexuality or anything remotely sexy. It was just a regrettable title. I get a lot of internet searches for gay truckers, and I hope this note saves you some time. Try one of the other links you found. Cheers – middlerage
I’ve been thinking about two (I want to say occupations, but it’s really ….) industries, that are reviled by most people. And the reason I think about them, is that I find this odd, because I have actually like both industries. I often find myself marching in the other direction. I wonder why?
The two occupations are Trucking (as in Keep On..!) and the Postal Service. I often hear friends bitching about the truck that almost ran them over on the freeway, and the PO is a perennial whipping boy for lawmakers, who wonder why the Postal Service costs so much, is always in the red, and is always raising the price of a first class stamp. But come’on ~¢50 to send a letter from Hawaii to Alaska? That strikes me as a bargain. And I purposely rounded up from ¢44 to ¢50 to hammer home the point. And the Alaskan can get the letter on Saturday. Secure, stable service. Sure, small businesses might wince at their monthly mailing costs, but why? Should somebody be delivering your stuff for free? Thinking about the Postal Service comes up, because they are putting in a request to eliminate Saturday deliveries in order to save money. More power to ’em. Here’s a fun fact I bet lots of folks don’t know: Even now, the PO doesn’t have Sundays off – most Post Offices run a crew on Sunday to prepare for the coming week. This is because the volume of mail sent by cranky, complaining Americans is so huge it demands a Sunday prep.
When I was a kid, wait for it…in the 1970s, Truckers ruled! BJ and the Bear was on the boob tube, and movies like Convoy, (based on a country music hit), and Smokey and the Bandit (Sally Field, swoooon) were box office gold. And just about every red-blooded, station-wagon-drivin family worth their Vista Cruiser had a CB radio so’s they could be just like Truckers. When did Trucking lose it’s cool? When did the hatin’ start? I can’t say. It just seems that anymore, the person I’m riding with is flustered by the big rigs. Veering away, hesitantly passing, cursing the trucker. But if you like food, gasoline, flowers, seafood, toys, electronics, construction materials….
I still have a vivid memory from a childhood family vacation trip; we were on some interstate somewhere – I wanna say Texas – and several tractor trailers were spinnin’ up several of the lanes in the large metropolitan area. Suddenly several of them locked up their brakes. Tires gushing gobs of thick, urine-smelling smoke. Rigs swerving and MAKING ROOM for each other. Big rigs crowding into too few lanes. As we drive by the scene there is an old man, sitting in his tiny car, parked on the inner shoulder. POINTED THE WRONG WAY. The truckers had seen the crisis developing, worked by implicit choreography, and made a hole where none should exist, so as to save the life of a befuddled old man – and maybe more.
UPDATE 04-05-2010. A reader adds her own story:
Once upon a time truckers were called “The Knights of the Road” because they were considerate and helped people. In fact, I have my own trucker story. A long time ago, in a state far, far away my sister and I were driving from Alabama to Florida late in the evening. I was maybe 20 and she was only 18 or so. At about 11:00 pm on a mostly deserted stretch of highway, my car broke down. We walked up to the emergency call booth (about 1/4 mile) and called (pressed a button) for a tow truck.
A few minutes after we got back to our car, a big rig going the opposite direction stopped and the trucker walked over. Now, you can imagine that my sister and I were quite nervous, but the guy just offered to check the car. There was nothing he could do, but he said that when he heard (yes – he had already heard about us on his CB) that there were two young girls stuck on the side of the road that he had to stop. He told us to get in the car and lock the doors, then he walked back to his truck and WAITED, watching out for us, until the tow truck came and we were safely on our way.