The Joy and Dread of Home Time

As a long haul trucker, I go through a full array of emotions during one particular time of the month. No, it’s not that. I’m a man, baby! For me, “that time of the month” is my home time.

The Evil Overlord and I have figured out that three weeks on the road together is about our maximum. Two weeks out and we don’t make the money we want. Four weeks out and we start worrying if the other is going to put a pillow over our face while we sleep. Tolerance will vary from driver to driver, but we know our limits.

The first of our emotions if a feeling of anticipation and elation. It happens when you know you’re heading home. Your mood lifts, you laugh more, and you get along better. You talk about the movie you’re going to go see. You make plans. You’re more alert when you drive. You know you’re headed home. When you get home, all is well with the world.

But after 3 or 4 days home, it’s time to go back to work. And that’s when the other emotions kick in. Dread is the best word for it. Actually, the dread begins to enter your mind the day before you’re due back to work. It’s the same feeling normal working folks get on Sunday evening, only as truckers we’re faced with two to four weeks of work before our next “weekend” off. The closer to our depart time, the worse the dread.

I now understand what my horse felt like. Well, not my horse. What I mean is that it reminds me of my one and only horse-backing experience. My best friend had horses and convinced me to go riding one day. I’ve always lived in town, so I was a bit freaked, but I gave it a go. He gave me the “nice” horse. Yea right. Then he convinced me that we didn’t need saddles. Yeah, I know. I’m not much brighter now.

That stinkin’ horse didn’t want to leave the corral. I kicked her hard and finally got her moving, but she was a stubborn as The Evil Overlord when she’s got her mind set on something. I struggled with that old nag (the horse) most of the day. I didn’t understand why she’d want to stay home when she could get out for a good long walk and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. But she didn’t. She wasn’t happy with me, and she let me know it.

But her attitude changed as soon as we turned for home. Her head came up and she picked up the pace. Clint Eastwood on a horse, I’m not. And without a saddle, I was doomed. My friend didn’t help matters. He decided to get his horse in a gallop and to my misfortune, my horse thought that was a really good idea. She took off and I was bouncing like a 5-year-old boy on a caffeine high. I did manage to hang on, but just barely. It took every bit of strength tugging on the reigns to get her slowed down again, but I managed to avoid a catastrophe. She was just happy that she was headed home.

As pissed as I was at that horse, I now understand what was going through her mind. Sometimes leaving home just sucks and there’s nothing that can change that. But going home always feels good. It’s just sad to think that a horse figured it out before me.

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