I sit and listen to the weather forcast in one side of the room, while my husband (an 18 wheel truck driver) argues with a fellow trucker. The young driver believes his job is in the balance because his dispatcher illuded to the fact that there is a line of truckers looking for work and would be happy to take his job. Most people by our age know how those words go. They say enough to make the employee feel insecure, yet stop short of saying something that would hang their job in the balance. The kid thinks he will lose his job if he refuses a load which will place him in the winter storm’s path where 10+ inches are expected. My husband explains to him that HE is responsible for his choice to drive or not- that the liability in the end lies with who is behind the wheel when something goes wrong. If he is in an accident, it is on him. I feel myself bite my lip.i’ve heard this conversation before, usually between my husband and his dispatcher. It seems good dispatchers think of the loads ,the schedule, the drivers, the road conditions, the use of company money in terms of fuel. And when it’s not someone who understands the nature of the delivery system, the safety of people and property, then you have an idiot who tries to bully his drivers to do his will, Somehow he seems to take this as a personal reflection of the size of his balls. If they are, it must be said that his brains however.are less able to be measured given their location which is likely too far up his *ss to be properly visualized.
Anyway, I have cringed as I hear less than flattering comments on their presence on the road as well as off the road. People tend to forget that truckers are people… people who are loved, cared about, family. People flap their lips as though no one could be affected by what others say. Well they ARE human. They love as passionately as the next person. They care about others and are as apt to help a stranger as anyone else, if not more so. They are more willing than most to get involved when someone needs help- with their vehicle or on the side of the road, in a truckstop, thousands of miles from anyone who could help. I know because I have been on the being helped by some of them- and no, not my husband or anyone he knew. These men and women are the modern day cowboys on the concrete pastures that span this country.
My husband gets off the phone, shaking his head side to side. I listen. I agree- and I think how many people tonight think they must do one thing or another or lose their jobs. I guess what I wonder is what makes up being “made” to do something. What sort of delivery makes someone think they are emergency worthy in such weather conditions. While my husband goes about his business, I mutter something under my breath about the kid needs to grow a pair and just politely refuse the load and say it is not going to be safe. . and don’t like what I see or hear when I have heard truckers brag about what they’ve driven through safely. FOrtunately most don’t mistake risk taking for being competent or brave. There is nothing cool or admirable to those wives (and husbands) who try to stay bust in hopes of avoiding sitting by the window watching the snow- what once looked so pretty and peaceful that then becomes such a threat to who they and their kids love. There will be prayers- regardless if your spouse is out there, you know someone’s is.You pray for those emergency workers who have all seen too much horror than any one life should have to bear witness. They who have all been the face of an angel ‘s wings in times of pain, fear, and utter solitude. My husband spoke with the other driver, reasoning with him until exhaustion. At that point he closes with the fact that nobody can make you do this-unless they have a gun to your head and come along with you. Hanging up the phone his face bears the lines of someone who has aged trying to reason with someone who has convinced themselves beyond reason. He has done all he can to get the kid to understand that he and only he will be responsible and accountable for his choices that bring him the results of his doing them. He reminded him that his life is NOT worth $200…or rather than what amount of money would be worth giving up his life?
I pray the kid uses his head and stays off the road- but I have doubts that He will not be alone in this and I dread the News tomorrow. This guy does not get it and will likely do whatever he’s told by someone who has no idea just what he is expecting of these drivers. It’s very sad how the upper levels of these companies are concerned with the bottom line, finances. They say they are concerned for safety but want the employees who will make them their money. They cover their backs with safety seminars but the very men who have the drivers watch these films violate them frequently. They wouldn’t see it as such. But they haven’t been behind the wheel. They don’t even know the roads, the routes. They know only the times loads need to be picked up and delivered. I look out to the skies. Where we live the storms haven’t gotten here yet. (A couple are to hit one after another.) The dogs sense it coming. They put their noses to the air sniffing. Soon the flakes will fall in that dance on the sir twirling as it moves through and lights upon those who have fallen before. More words will be spoken. They too will swirl through the air as they too drop with whatever has been said before. When beauty is held within though the sight of the individual pieces. It becomes a scene a visual conversation.