Dallas – October 1. 2012
Well (Have you noticed that I use that term a lot?), I was all set to go out for three weeks with another trainee, but having been dumped by two different trainees I was waiting for a finishing trainer. It was Monday morning. After a bad night with the worst roommate to-date (I had four different roommates in six days) I was pretty much awake by 4:44 a.m. “Why,” you might ask? I found out later in the day from this roommate – who stayed up until past midnight and needed the television on all the time – that when he was getting in bed, he discovered it had been taken over by “bed bugs.” I use quotes because what he described (they were “HUGE”) could not possibly have been bed bugs, because bed bugs are almost microscopic. But I will concede that he found that there were bugs in his bed, which is a bad thing unto itself. My daughter and grandchildren had been on that bed. I haven’t said anything to my daughter about it, but I’m guessing she knows now.
But I digress (Have you noticed that I use that term a lot, too?). I fought my way onto one of the earliest buses (even though I was one of the later arrivals at the bus stop), and got to the 8:30 a.m. roll call we were all required to attend shortly before 7:00. Before Stevens’ own standup comic, the training coordinator had even made his appearance, I was summoned to his empire where I was told that they had a trainer waiting at the Super 8 motel down the street. The guy they had originally assigned to him had neglected to bring his stuff from the America’s Worst this morning and would have to go back to the hotel so he had been put back on the shelf. Go get your stuff and hustle out to the Yellow Cab waiting outside. HURRY, HURRY, HURRY for this opportunity of a lifetime.
So I got my hundred and fifty pounds worth of stuff together and schlepped it out to the waiting Yellow Cab that was being driven by a surly old dude who HAD TO GET SOMEBODY TO THE AIRPORT. So into the cab I got and down to the Super 8 we drove. We found my driver’s truck, a 2012 Peterbilt, and as promised, he was finishing his breakfast at the nearby IHOP. We had a conversation, although I was lucky to get five percent of the message. He spoke in a very low, soft voice. Ten minutes later he got to the truck and helped me hoist my stuff up and in the cab. Then he told me he was being picked up in a few minutes and had some personal things to attend to. He added that I should be ready to roll at 8 p.m. We were delivering a load of pork to Laredo.
Hurry, hurry, hurry?
What the f- What the hell?
Also, while I expected that a driver who was leasing his truck would have a microwave and a refrigerator. No such luck. The final strike in this finishing trainer strikeout was, he had no (zero, zip,nada) space for me in his truck. At least in Dudley’s truck I had my 16-inch square space plus a little shelf turf I had commandeered for my contact lens case and eyeglasses. Now I had more stuff and no space. Sigh.
Isaac Hayes (he looks just like him and speaks in that low-voiced drawl – I can almost hear him melodically saying “Hello Chirren” like in South Park) at least consented to taking me back to The Yard, where I could hang out with more conveniences and an internet connection. He said he would call before he headed back to the truck and stop back by The Yard if I needed a ride back to his truck. So I spent the day online and chatting with some of my training buddies who hadn’t been dispatched yet. We plotted who we would work for after we dumped this worthless company.
In addition to the above activities I also managed to grab a shower over at the trucker’s lounge. It was like being back in high school only we at least had our own shower cubicles, privacy not included. As luck would have it I got the same sweet cabbie to give me a ride back to the truck where I kinda, sorta put my things away, meaning I hoisted everything five feet up to my bunk. Sigh.
Isaac Hayes got back to the truck at the appointed hour (that, at least, was a good sign) and I drove us off the lot and onto the freeway. We stopped for fuel a dozen miles down the road and before we had driven another dozen miles Isaac Hayes disappeared into the back and took himself a two and a half hour snooze.
I drove with minimal gear grindage as far as Austin. Isaac Hayes finally woke up as I was pulling off the freeway for a construction / accident (really couldn’t figure out which) detour. Even though it was 12:30 a.m. the traffic was pretty thick. We went to the first turnaround and most of the cars were exiting to turnaround onto that side freeway and headed back to I-35 so I did too. I’m not sure if it was a mistake or not, but we got in a stoppage at the ramp back onto I-35 that lasted just over 30 minutes. I cleverly suggested that we use that time to do our post trip inspection. Surprisingly, he agreed. So I did a walkaround right there on the elevated ramp, and as the Qualcomm clicked 30 minutes, the traffic started moving. Since I was not supposed to drive past midnight, Isaac Hayes jumped into the driver seat and drove us the rest of the way to Laredo. Day one. rather night one, was in the can.