living in a box….

tractor in yard

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

In general there is no one that knows a thing about truck driving and what the life on the road is like. There is always the romantic thoughts from years gone by that the job is full of thrills and the life is the life of Riley and that when ever a woman see’s the driver of that big truck she is ready to run into your arms and beg you to take her away.
Never happens.
A big truck is a prison and the driver is convicted for life to be tied to his rig by an invisible teather-although allowed the freedom to go from one coast to the other the driver can never be free from the truck,its always there waiting- I know I could’nt get away and in some ways I hated that I ever got into one….but most of the time it was the greatest place on earth for me-the only place I was somebody,and the only place I ever felt safe.
No one really knows this way of life unless they have been there and those of you that have will agree that most all of your waking day your body is inside of that truck,and for many of you that is time spent completely alone in a box that is less than 64 square feet-or…8 foot square. Actually-convicts have more human contact during thier day than a long distance driver does.
Its not too different-just maybe a little more plush than a prison….like when you get stop and go into a truck stop to eat or shower or park to get some sleep-but rarely do you get to know the person who is eating next to you while in prison you might be able to strike up friendships,here you rarely make eye contact….not wanting to hear some drivers dull story about his log book woes.
But always in idle out in the parking lot is where you have to go-the cabin of your truck becomes your home and there is no where else.
Its a very interesting community. The truck and its parking lot are small cities with little strips of real estate available to set up camp in-each space marked off with white stripes…now a day each comes with underground services like television cable and internet access,but once upon a time they were void of all the thrills except for the thrill of hearing a hundred trucks with thier diesel engines chattering down the line.
At any given time in a truck stop parking lot there is accessable anything you may require in any given day and for any given need. All you have to do is ask putting out your request on the citizens band radio. The transient make up of the industry insures that. For example-any Mayflower truck or any van line that hauls household goods….those guys spend so much time away from home base that they accumulate items such as small cook out grills and various lawn chairs then again a heavy haul driver such as myself would have assorted tools or blocks of wood-and tarps….when ever we were on a crane haul ( some cranes are so huge they require many trucks to haul the various parts ) we would have to keep in a uniform distance in order to deliver the sections in a timely manner so the riggers could re-assemble the machine in an organized way-so when we were on a crane haul we would assemble in a collective group in a parking lot at a truck stop and because sections were so huge we had to stop on Fridays and resume transport on Mondays(it was illegal to move these large pieces on weekends) we would build these tent pavilions around our rigs covering large spans-keeping it dry and shaded with our tarps spread out between our rigs. Cook out grills would come out from everywhere-and most truckers have crock pots and cookers that work off the cigerete lighter in the cab so there would be buffets of interesting varieties because of the reliable resources of diverse kinds of frieght sitting in the lot. We could have shrimp and steaks and chicken and pork and beer and coke and fruit and veggies and never enter a grocery store….it all just came from the various loads sitting in the lot.
These amazing short lived friendships would happen-everybody knew what everybody was going through….we were always miles away from somewhere-never near our homes and none of us were going to see each other again after the night passes,that was a given-and most likely why most of us do it….live this nomadic life;and by the next day your new found friend would be gone.
Inside on the drivers seat as you spin mile after mile beneath you watching mile after mile of the countryside going by and watching sunsets and sunrises and changes in weather and going from city to city to places that are so wide open and free,thats also why we do it-the safety of the solitude and the freedom of being tied to anything else but that truck.

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