Todd McCann is grateful for his life as a truck driver, but he insists that it isn’t a life for wimps.
As I’ve stated before in “Why I do this,” one of the main reasons I have an online presence is to inform non-truckers what it’s like to live as an Over-The-Road trucker. Sure, bad days can come off sounding a bit whiny sometimes, but the idea is not to gain sympathy. The plan is to help people stop and think when they’re around trucks. From what my non-trucker friends tell me, it’s been working.
Driving a truck isn’t the hard part of trucking. Living the life is. Once you learn how to drive the monster truck on steroids, the actual driving is usually a pleasure. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the desert, a hillside full of fall foliage in the Northeast, or a glimpse of Lake Coeur d’ Alene in Northern Idaho never gets old. It also helps not to have a boss who is constantly trying to catch you surfing the web instead of working.
Of course, there’s also the threat of crossing snow-covered Rocky Mountains, fighting rush hour traffic, and the very existence of New York City, which is about as much fun as a titty-twister from a professional arm wrestler. Still, the majority of time it beats staring at a cubicle wall and kissing some jerk’s buttocks day after day.
So what exactly is so hard about the trucking life? It’s the little things that most non-truckers rarely, if ever, think about. For instance,
When was the last time you:
- had to wonder if your shower was going to have hot water?
- had to worry about having good water pressure in that shower?
- had to worry about even getting a shower?
- had to get dressed in the middle of the night to take a leak, or worse?
- had to blow a non-family member’s pubic hair off your toilet seat?
- had to brush your teeth while smelling someone else’s butt funk or five someone else’s?
- couldn’t easily get to a hospital when you were puking up something that resembles cottage cheese and hot dog chunks?
- had to be a contortionist to make your bed?
- were up all day and were then told you need to drive 500 miles?
- got out of your vehicle and the parking lot smelled like boiling urine?
- tried to pass a vehicle for 5 minutes before you gave up and got back behind the freak with the fickle right foot?
- couldn’t find a place to park?
- had to sleep in a pool of your own sweaty B.O.?
- couldn’t sleep because your toes felt like they’d been dipped in liquid nitrogen?
- got bad directions, cursed, missed your turn, cursed, and couldn’t turn around for 10 miles, cursing the whole time?
- were woke up and solicited by a hooker? Sorry men. Dreams don’t count.
- were separated from your spouse for over a week… and that happened every month?
- were forced to have a marital spat over the phone?
- missed your child’s big event because you were in another state delivering a load of really important ketchup packets?
- had to post a “Beware of falling objects” sign in your vehicle to remind you every time you open a cabinet door?
- couldn’t get to a Starbucks when you really, really, really needed a fix?
- realized that your restaurant choices were limited to where you could park?
- had to get out of your vehicle 10 times just to back into a parking space? And you weren’t 16-years-old.
- had to drive up a painstakingly long 6-mile hill at 25 miles per hour?
- had to drive down a painstakingly long 6-mile hill at 25 miles per hour?
- were told you couldn’t drive any further until you got a nose-hair-sized crack in your windshield repaired?
- had to account for every 15-minute period of your day?
- had to sit for 10 hours just 15 miles from home because the Department of Transportation has deemed that it’s too dangerous to drive another 15 minutes?
- had to live in a room the size of a walk-in closet, sometimes with another crabby person?
- had to sleep in a bouncing bed? On second thought, don’t answer that.
- had to pack a suitcase to go to work?
- had to do 15 loads of laundry in 30 hours? I should have bought stock in April Fresh Tide years ago.
- had to pay twice as much as another driver for the exact same traffic violation?
- were issued a DUI after one beer? CDL holders can be; because we all know that the type of plastic card you hold makes all the difference in how your body handles booze.
- had to fuel at a particular station, even if the lines were longer than an NBA star’s criminal record?
- had to take a particular route to work, even if it took longer than the way you’d prefer to go?
- had to cancel a vacation because your employer couldn’t get you home in time?
- were told you could go home on Friday afternoon, but you didn’t actually get there until the following Thursday?
- got a 30-hour weekend after working for 3 or 4 weeks?
- said “TGIF” and it actually meant something?
- had a friend that didn’t involve an Internet connection?
I rest my case for now. I urge my non-trucking readers to appreciate the normal lives that they lead. Your life may seem mundane at times, but please don’t take it for granted. When you’re on your way to your weekend golf game or a baby shower, remember the truckers that are en route to the docks at Golfsmith and Babies-R-Us. Hopefully, those thoughts carry over into the weekdays too.
To the folks out there who are considering driving a truck for a living, I’d like you to think long and hard about what you’re getting into. While it’s true that you’ll never really know if you’re cut out for the trucking life until you’re actually doing it, you can do everything in your power to be informed before you try to enter the industry.
Talk to truckers. Read about trucking. Ride along with a trucker for a week or more if you can manage it. Whatever you do, please don’t get into trucking without careful consideration. The last thing we need out here is another whiny trucker. Just follow me on Twitter if you don’t believe me.