Thanks to Trucker Alex, I began thinking about something I pondered while at The University of West Alabama. Two of my jobs I had during those three years were at truck stops…the first at the AL-MS state line in York, AL and the second no longer in business in Livingston called Noble Truck Stop. They were both really good experiences (the second more memorable and liked) and I was able to meet some really nice people…some more interesting than nice!
One of the guys I met while at Noble was a great friend. Before the other half and I left that area, we decided to go to Gulf Shores for the weekend. He had no plans and went along with us. It was a great trip and one I will remember for the rest of my life. It was great in the sense that we could all take a relaxing trip and have great conversation. And a trip to Gulf Shores is never a bad one. You can always bring something back with you. On one of my trips, I left something down there that hasn’t really been missed. But I do digress. Sorry! Oooo, shiny bubble!
The types of people I met were hard workers, especially those that hauled logs and other loads needing binding. Some definitely harder working than others. I worked the overnight shift, so I wasn’t able to meet the ones during the day. They were more of the regulars. I met many new ones who were simply needing a place to sleep and grab a bite to eat on the way. There were one or two guys that liked the electronic slot machines a bit too much. One night in particular, this guy spent at least $300 on a machine. And he lost it all! I just sat there at the counter and wondered what I could do with $300! I could buy food, and at the time, cigarettes. It was absolutely ridiculous!
One of the more memorable guys to come in was this guy from Louisiana. He was great looking, well spoken, and carried himself very nicely. Good clothes and never, ever smelled like he hadn’t taken a shower in days. We became friends and he seemed to come in on the shifts I worked. I asked him one night how he found himself being a transfer truck driver. His answer blew my mind and had me thinking about my own career path. He had gone to college and had a degree in Psychology. He looked around for a job opportunity in that field and came up short. He found the job he had then and found that over the year, he made as much…if not more…than he would in the career he had studied. I knew a few drivers that were very happy about the money they made and were not too proud to show it. That is, they had new shiny cowboy boots, the new brushed hats, the neat pressed shirts, and the pretty Peterbuilt or Mack trucks. Not to put Kenworth trucks down, but those were the main ones. My friend from LA was not that type. He was very down to earth and new that his earnings had come from dedicated work. I do miss being able to have conversations with him and hearing his tales from the road.
One other reason I thought about becoming a trucker was the fact that it runs in the family. For years, my father drove a log truck for the local timber company. I used to love going over to the truck yard and helping him clean his Mack truck; the little shiny bulldog as the hood ornament. Not only did he drive, but also all three of my mother’s brothers and a few great uncles. It was hiding there in my blood. The only think that stopped me was that I had no clue how to drive stick….or a standard shift vehicle. I am sure I could have gone to a driving school, but where would I have gotten the money? I was a poor college kid that was failing in all his classes because he couldn’t think. Straight, that is. I was all messed up in the head trying to figure out who I was, much less where I was going. A few months later, I found myself on the road to Atlanta. I think I’m happy!
To those out there that drive…long or short hauls…you all are appreciated. I know what that profession can do to people if they allow it to. Get enough sleep. Don’t take the uppers. They are bad, Mmmm-k! If you do that, there really isn’t a reason to get another book. You got me? Keep your dick in your pants when you’re away from home and all you have at home will still be there when you return. Even if it’s some trashy lot lizard you picked up at the Red Hot Truck Stop. (I’ll keep that location to myself!) Be careful and get where you’re going safely.