Sunday, September 12, 2010

After All, I Do Drive a Truck!

I am frequently chided by friends and relatives: "Why don't you stop in on your way through _____ (fill in the blank with your location) and drop in and see us/me? Most of the time I don't do it, and people's feelings are hurt because I didn't just drop in and visit.

There are several reasons for this. Mostly - I'm at work. I'm getting paid by the hour. Can you tell your boss: Oh, hey, it's ten in the morning and my best bud Joe Citizen is in town. I'm gonna dash out for a couple hours and be right back.

Uh, yeah. Let me know how that goes. I can't stop outbound when I'm loaded. Our customer is generally waiting for me to show up at a scheduled time - often they have a crane booked to unload me and to set the tank/tanks I'm carrying. Even if I have a few hours of leeway - believe me when I tell you it's better to get there early than to play with the extra time and then have something unforeseen happen - a blowout, mechanical trouble, routing problems or whatever can delay me and eat up that "extra" time. Burning it on something not job related isn't a very good idea.

Also, when I'm outbound - I'm permitted for a certain route. Depending on the state, I can go a certain distance "off route" to get to a truck stop or similar. This doesn't include residential areas very often, as you can imagine.

Then, even if I'm on the way home and time isn't as tight - there is the whole truck parking and truck route issue. Look at some of the signs on your way home. Are you on a truck route? Or does your street or feeder street have a sign up that says something about trucks over a certain amount of pounds or axles are prohibited? Guess what? I'm not driving a pickup. I'm not even driving a monster 4x4. I'm driving a monster 6x4 pulling a 53' trailer - approaching 75' long overall. I'm exactly who those signs are aimed towards. Your hometown decided they didn't want me and my rig cruising your street. Then there is the whole truck parking issue. Where are you planning on me parking? In front of your house? How are the nabes gonna like that when the area is clearly posted banning me from being there?

Which means if you wanna see me - you are going to have to meet me at a truck stop or somewhere I am allowed to park. Can you get shaken free at 3:17pm to come visit me at a moment's notice? How does your boss like that idea?

Well, then I could stay at a motel and you could come over after work. Except that I am expected to put in a full day of driving to get home. My boss isn't particularly wild about me driving five or six hours a day each day to get home and spend his money at motels. According to the Feds, I'm allowed to drive eleven hours in a day. My boss has a pretty good idea how many nights out it takes to get there and get back. I'm gonna be paying for motels above and beyond that ideal figure unless there is a compelling reason - perhaps I was delayed by mechanical troubles and the truck was in the shop. In that particular case, I would have no choice.

Plus, my boss and dispatcher want me and the trailer I'm pulling back. If I'm on an overnight trip - they have me scheduled to go back out after I return. And, the trailer I'm pulling needs to get back so it can be reloaded to go back out. So, if I'm on a trip that takes four to five days for a round, they want me back in time Saturday for the loadout crew to use that trailer for a scheduled delivery leaving Monday morning. Or in the middle of the week to go right back out again.

Okay, then how about the time I was in town and staying at a motel and didn't call and let you know I was there? Okay, this time someone might have a point - but generally I've put in a ten to fourteen hour day to get there - my day usually ends after six or seven pm or later. So, I have a couple of hours to get supper and try to relax - because my alarm is usually set for four to five am. I'm fond of seven to eight hours of sleep. This means bed time is eight or nine pm for this weary ol' tubby trucker. Call me antisocial, but I'm not much into seeing sunrises without the benefit of sleep. Thirty years ago - no problem! Now, not so much.

So, I'm sorry if I've pissed ya off because I didn't call or stop in. Maybe I'm a stuck up SOB, but I've got my reasons, and I fear they are pretty compelling to me.


Laura said...

Well, all I know is if you're ever driving in Como Italy, you need to stop and kill a certain WHORE there, because I will pay you in Circus Peanuts and bacon.

Earl said...

I thought about that when on the road, not as much as you, but when I finally check in at a motel, the hot shower and bed come right after checking my email and posting on the blog. I have only so much life in me when I am tired.

wv curres

Jeffro said...

Laura: I'll run over her like the dog she is.

Earl: That pretty well covers how I feel!