Why Would I Become a Trucker?
Trucking, which is described in the dictionary as a way of hauling loads for exchange or bartering, just sounds tough. Now, why in the world would a nice-looking, educated, married, grandmother decide to leave the stability and comforts of her life to adventure into an unknown male-dominated world with huge, oily and smoky-smelling road-hogging machines? The rigs have only one purpose—to get to their destinations on time with the loads they are carrying. After, they just turn around and grab another time-sensitive trailer of cargo, and do it all over again. You might say to yourself, “She’s lost her mind,” or “She’s not thinking clearly in her older age,” or “She’s bored and looking for adventure.”
I heard some of those things said about me, all the way through truck driving school, finding my first job, and even after I was doing it all on my own with my “big car.” Yes, some of that might be true, but what would have caused me to even consider trucking as a validation of my possible insanity or boredom or even as an avenue for adventure?
It’s important to note when I first noticed trucks. That would be when I was a young girl on the farm in Nebraska, watering the newly-planted trees that would one day block the view of the highway to the house that stood there beside spreads of corn and wheat. The vision of those big rigs passing by me as I stood with a green water hose in my hand, pulling my arm up and down to see if the drivers would honk at me, are still very real in my mind. My father, however, was not so thrilled with my posing. He told me that kind of behavior wasn’t acceptable for a little girl, and it could give unwarranted ideas to the men in their work vehicles, distracting them. I heeded his demands when I was in his sights, but I have to admit, Daddy, I did it anyway when you weren’t around. Sorry.
I was curious about the trucks, they were all different, not just in color or the shape of the tractors, but what the tractors carried behind them. Some had big rectangular boxes, others had no boxes, but carried large and small items on a flat trailer. Some carried big items and the trailers were in the shapes of a flat floor with a step up towards the tractor. Some pulled huge tanks that I assumed carried liquids or powders, but I had no way of verifying my assumption. I was familiar with large farm equipment, but road trucks were different to me. They were going somewhere, delivering something, and I wanted to know about them. I wanted to experience what it would be like to take a trip across the country in one of those big things. I wanted to know about those drivers and how they lived out on the roads.
The years passed for me—college, careers, two marriages, children, different houses, and even different states flooded the many wrinkled lines of life now exposed in the palms my hands. Now it was time to add a new life line, a long ago tucked away adventure into the world of those big trucks that once honked at me on Highway 81.