My birthday was August 19 and this year it came up on me like the Millennium Falcon would come up on a Yugo with bad spark plugs. It passed just as quick. As usual, it was nothing special. No big party. Nothing to write home about; although I could have, since I didn’t even manage to be home on the big day. I’m a truck driver, which means I spent the day driving. Happy happy, joy, joy. That’s not at all how I’d planned it.
As some of you know, I’m trying to get off the road so I can go back to school. You might ask, “What’s wrong with trucking?” Well, trucking in general certainly has its share of problems. For instance, as of now no one has given me permission to yank my e-log unit off the dash, smash it with a 10-pound sledge, and take a leak on it for good measure. That’s a problem in my eyes. Nor has anyone made a new rule that if a driver sits in a dock for more than two hours, they’re allowed to walk up and kick the loader in the junk. *sigh dreamily* Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Still truck driving isn’t all bad. As a matter of fact, certain aspects of it rock harder than a Pantera concert. As an over-the-road trucker, I don’t know the meaning of 9 to 5, other than it’s an old movie about giant boobs… or something like that. I always get distracted from the story line. In other words, there is no such thing as a set schedule. I kinda like the variety that brings.
Truckers also have some of the best scenery of any job. Looking out at snow-covered mountains or a valley full of fall foliage sure as heck beats staring at a cubicle wall covered with Dilbert paraphernalia while secretly planning the perfect murder of the annoying co-worker in the next cell block.
Yes, being a truck driver is a fine job to have, but there is also what is known as too much of a good thing. Take Skittles as an example. I love me some Skittles, but if you made me eat them every day for over 14 years, I’d show you daily how I “Experience the Rainbow” in the form of violent outbursts of colorful vomiting.
Now with that being said, here’s why this birthday sucked more than a big rig sucks fuel. I wasn’t supposed to be out here on the road this birthday. You see, The Evil Overlord’s (my wife and ex-codriver) college courses started back up today and I was supposed to be beside her to make her look good. Okay. Maybe that’s the other way around. Yet here I am, still in the truck.
Back at the beginning of the year, my plans were to quit my current job a couple of weeks before school started. That meant I’d be at home for my birthday and in time to get settled in for classes. I was still holding out for a miracle, as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t drop the classes I had booked until a week before school. I kept hoping something would happen that would get me out of trucking for good. It didn’t.
You know, with my purposed schedule consisting of Trigonometry, Calculus I, Chemistry I, and Zoology, you’d think I’d be happy to be driving instead of studying, yet sadly I’m not. I’d much rather be at home tonight, mumbling under my breath about what I’d gotten myself into.
If I’m honest with myself, I could have guessed I wasn’t going to make it. We haven’t been paying off debt as fast as we had planned. For one thing, I haven’t been making the same kind of money that I used to. I blame some of that on e-logs. There are other causes too, but I think I’ll blame the rest of them on e-logs too, simply because I can. I also had an unexpected hospital bill pop up.
But perhaps most of all, The Evil Overlord has had our three nephews and their bottomless pit stomachs most of the summer. How the heck do you people afford kids? We didn’t really choose this, we kinda had to do it. Their mom and dad just got separated and it was best to remove the brats from the situation. But that’s over now.
Much to their chagrin, the little dorks are back at school and are now back with their parents (well, one at a time any way). That means that we’ve started the crackdown on the bills again. Once again, I’ve set a goal to start school in the spring. Still, I’ll have to admit that I was still a bit skeptical whether we were going to be able to pull this off by then. But perhaps my fears were unwarranted.
To my utter surprise and delight, The Evil Overlord has decided that even if the bills aren’t completely paid off by spring, she still wants me to come off the road. She figures that at some point you just have to dive off the cliff and hope you don’t lose your Speedo when you hit the water. I’ve been thinking the same thing lately.
Now I know some of you are thinking that it’s irresponsible to quit a good-paying job when you’ve got debt, especially in this job market. I know where you’re coming from. Heck, that feeling is exactly why I’m sitting here in this truck right now. Never you fear though, I’m not throwing all caution to the wind. I’d never quit this job until I had another one lined up.
After much discussion, it’s been decided that if we still have a lot of debt come springtime, I’ll just get a local job doing whatever makes the most money. If that’s working on an assembly line, fine. It’s nothing I haven’t done before. Shipping/receiving job? Been there, done that. Even if it’s a local driving job, that’s dandy too. At least I’ll be home more often and I’ll feel like I have a place in The Evil Overlord’s world.
Granted, we all know I’ve made plans like this before and look where that’s gotten me. I’ve had two similar school deadlines come and go and I’m still looking at 11 hours of driving tomorrow. So who knows? Maybe I’ll be out of trucking by Christmas. Maybe I won’t. Until then I’m going to try to act like these are my last few months on the road while I keep working to make it a reality. I’m going to try to keep a more positive outlook on life.
Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re thinking again. I said I’m going to try. TRY! No guarantees. After all, it’s kind of hard to keep a cheery attitude when your low-budget diet consists of tuna salad, peanut butter, and canned soup. Maybe the occasional bag of Skittles would help?
Tags: 9 to 5, birthday, boobs, college, Dilbert, e-logs, electronic logs, fuel, home time, Pantera, school, Skittles, Speedo, The Evil Overlord, truck, truck driving, trucker, trucker stories, trucking, trucking industry, trucking jobs, trucking life