What’s a Nice Boy Like Me Doing in a Place Like This?

Back at trucking school I used to ask guys how they had ended up there. It was about what you expect; factory shut down, no future in making microchips, government contract discontinued, a million bucks worth of equity evaporated in the real estate meltdown. People get into trucking, mostly, as a last resort. Because something else didn’t pan out, because they’ve run out of options.

For me, the positive way to look at it is it’s my latest attempt to find a job that will leave me time to write. Trimming trees, which I did for years, didn’t work, nor did teaching school. My last two years in the latter profession were spent doing the substitute grind while waiting for a permanent position to open up somewhere. Which left me both starving and hardly in a clear frame of mind to get creative work done. The other trouble was that the more I saw of the public education mill the less motivated I was to become a part of it.

Summers off would have been nice, though.

So why do I think trucking might work?

One, it may be a seven day a week job, but after you are done driving for the day there are almost zero distractions. You’re pretty well cooped up in that cab whether you like it or not.

Two, with a class A commercial driver’s license, you can always find a job. The very worst distraction of all, I have found, is underemployment (read: substitute teaching).

On the other hand, I’m giving up a lot. It is a seven day a week job. Even if you’re not driving, you’re still tied to the truck. Days in my beloved Colorado Springs, hiking in my Rockies, playing with my cat, will be few and too far between. Social life? Intellectual stimulation? Almost non-existent. Anything else I’ll be giving up? I could go on and on.

I try to remember to remind myself, when I start to wonder what I’m doing here, of the Athenians. How they abandoned their beloved Athens to take refuge behind the wooden walls of their ships. How, at Salamis, they won Athens back again. The Persians had burnt and despoiled their fair city, of course. The Athenians rebuilt it on a grander scale.

There are no Persians sacking Colorado Springs. My house will still be there whenever I get back. The raspberry patch will be a wreck, and the floors of the house will be coated in cat fur (Tanaka sheds by the bushel when she’s stressed). Probably I will not need to rebuild, as the Athenians had to, the Acropolis.

And maybe I can find a local trucking job after a year of this over-the-road thing. That’s what a lot of guys talk about. Or simply find a company that has a route that will get me home on the weekends. Or maybe, just maybe, make use of the lack of distractions in my truck cab to get the next novel knocked into shape. And get it published.

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