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February 2011

Writing from the Plane: Thoughts on Psychopathic Jealousy

Some people have everything they want, except the absolute destruction of another soul. You could call it a late term abortion of sorts, a play into the afterbirth of afterlife. Especially if the person suffering from a lifetime of jealousy has always been allowed to persevere without impunity: making telephone calls, engaging others in a web of hateful lies, and plotting isolation, and ruin, for their target person.

Most intelligent people never intentionally involve themselves in a cheap, childish, two-faced charade; however, there are exceptions. You can usually spot them by their innate lack of true "social security." By the term "social security" I am simply referring to a person who has found themselves in a truly plushed and undeserved, possibly fragile, lifestyle. They are surprised to find they are on the upswing, rather than down, where persons of their intellectual level usually dwell. You can easily detect insecurity masquerading as buffoonery.

Nevermind me, I am a chronic skeptic, and well known lowlife; however, I truly believe everyone will eventually suffer bone chilling humility, buffoon or not. Circumstances come along, uncontrollable, like a skid on the ice, and suddenly the truth is staring one in the face: the planning was in futility, the truth is undeniably obvious, the charade is revealed!

I always think of the one hit wonder written by Margaret Mitchell, "Gone with the Wind." If you have read her epic, or if you have ever seen the fabulous movie, then you will remember the Slattery couple. They were "white trash" until, by some miracle, they accumulated a little wealth. But under the fine clothes, and beneath the skin, they were trapped into their own narrow vision of what constitutes success, and is deserving of snobbery. They were trash, and money couldn't change the obvious.

People, who are psychopathically jealous, live in a constant state of drama and worry. They cannot risk the skid into truth, and they cannot face their own warped definition of success. In reality, they have done nothing but fail--they live in a pressure cooker of hatred and duplicity. Us, who are always confused because we simply don't understand this kind of mental illness, have to struggle along and continue our journey into happiness. The bumps along the road, engineered by the jealous and hateful, are just little challenges that further strengthen our personal convictions. With each passing year we are shown a bit more while accumulating valuable wisdom.

In spite of our tragic losses, bitterness is not an option.

The Devastating Takeover of American Jobs by Foreign Nationals

It's not as hard to be away from your family if you can see some kind of financial progress; but right now this is all just pure torture for me. I sat 6 days in Castaic, California, waiting for a load. Meanwhile, I watched one Mexican truck after another come and go loaded. I hauled a small chemical order to a power plant in Utah. I then drove to Idaho and loaded potatos back for California.

The markets I once served, are now overrun with junky trucks from places like Brownsville, Texas, and Laredo. Rates are in the toilet because these people buy the cheapest equipment they can find, and they spend none of their money on upkeep. They fill up with cheap Mexican fuel, and then they knock the hell out of the shipping rates.

 I have not seen my child in over a month. I have nothing to show for my abscence. Rates are low, trucks are parked, fuel is too high, and the weather has not cooperated in any form or fashion.

If I was a federal transportation official, I would crack down on these places that churn drivers in and out with lease purchase plans designed to profit only the company. I would personally interview some of these people whose lives have been wrecked by greedy cut rate brokers, and I would put an end to this ridiculous cross border trucking program that will serve to further deteriorate rates, driver quality, and pay.

Today, in LasVegas, I watched a truck from San Diego create a near catastrophe in my lane of travel. He overcorrected after drifting into the other lane of traffic; he nearly tipped his load in front of me. I would bet money he was a Mexican national driving an American truck...possibly illegally. They drive just as rude here as they do across the line. As this cross border takeover of American labor jobs continues our society will decline even more. Young people with college are without jobs, and our government wants to go ahead and wipe out another industry with a shortage of qualified workers. Trucking is highly technical labor, with a massive variety of skill sets. In no way should we allow any foreign national with third world cultural ideas have free rein around our country in something as dangerous as a truck.

I understand how exciting it is to visit America and drive around the country. It is an education beyond belief. However, we should never allow companies to permanently replace American workers with cheap foreign labor during an unemployment crisis. We are on the verge of a depression, and it is time to roll up the welcome mat. When times are good again, and the threat of terrorism has receded somewhat, then I would be proud to share my industry with foreign workers. Now is not a good time. Why don't we, just once, say NO to Mexico et al.

More on Minding Your Own Business: A Farewell to Thee

For many years my brother partnered with a woman that only a mother could love. She had a big mouth, an addiction to anything you could suck up a needle, and she would steal whatever was around. She drank cheap beer out of a tall silver can, and she always smelled filthy, like dirt. I had never known her to work, but I know she often whored herself to sailors and truckers on the Houston ship channnel. The most exciting, and fullfilling, moment in this woman's life happened sometime after a drug enforcement raid on a ship in the harbor. Somehow, the Port Authority cops had dropped a bundle of cocaine into the water, and she was able to fish it out with a long net borrowed from a baithouse. Like stench from a dumpster, my brother's girlfriend of many years is thankfully long gone; however, her smelly impression on my memory remains to this day. She would ask the nosiest questions, and once I answered, she would criticize everything I said.

I often meet up with similar types on the road, and I suffered that experience once again last night when one of my friend's brought his truly cheap, and ignorant, wife along for an evening meal. Possibly the most amazing aspect to this couple's collective personality is their honest belief that whatever I do is in some manner their business. They comment endlessly on everything to do with me, and if they can tell I am holding back some juicy tidbit of personal information, then they will begin trying to discuss my physical appearance. I can't even explain in words how weird it is to have a couple like this dare to opine and lament on my life. They are not civic leaders, ministers, experts in mental health, or Harvard graduates. How strange it is to look at this drunken mess of a woman and listen to sarcastic remarks on the state of my employment, love life, and attempts to mother my child long distance. How grandiose! She hasn't experienced any periods of sobriety in her entire adult life; who was raising her children?

Years and years ago my husband presented a tearfully written letter from one of his relatives. This person had the nerve to question, "O why, O why, would you be with her?" Over the years we have painfully 'put up' with this kind of ridiculous nonsense, never questioning the personal decisions of any of these disrespectful and nosy people. We have let them live their own life, yet, they persist in tinkering with ours, sometimes to the point of obvious harm. It is a sin to war against a child's home.

Whatever decisions we make as a family, they are our own. How we manage our time, employment, personal finances, marriage, romance, child, numerous friends, homelife, is strictly our business. We try not to comment on the lives of those around us. We rarely agree with anything these nosy people do, but we save our opinions for those empty moments in conversation when something unimportant can burst the quiet peace of an unexciting day.

I never bothered to argue against my brother concerning his romantic choices, they were his own. His decisions belonged to him, and I knew I had to respect whatever direction his eye would take him. He understood that about me also, and he would typically take the side of any boyfriend before he would tell me I was right. But he always did it with a joke, a smile, and never with any malicious intent. He would never have considered breaking up my home, or telling me who to date.

It is obvious that some people simply do not understand boundaries. They have willfully overlooked the moments when 'looking the other way' and 'keeping your big mouth shut' was the only intelligent choice available. Instead, they chose to tinker, when they should have walked away. I wish I could feel something for them, but I don't.

Castaic is Getting back to Normal

I am up in Castaic, California, my third home north of Los Angeles. Yesterday we had a chilly rain, snow over the Grapevine Pass, no internet service, no credit card service, no automated tellers, and very limited cellphone access. The day was strange, gloomy, and lonely as hell with nothing to do but watch movies and sit in the cafe. Mike's Diner gave me the 'power' over the remote control, and because I wasn't wearing my reading glasses, I managed to accidentally shut the television completely down. Everyone looked over at me like I was the devil. Finally, a really smart waitress was able to restart programming while I sat squirming with embarrassment in my hot little chair--lucky for me!

Starbuck's is still experiencing some wifi connection issues, so I am blogging from McDonald's today. A family is visiting Castaic from Squaw Valley. They have had seven feet of snow in the last week. The wife is telling me they would like to go home, but their community is overrun with tourists out for a day on the lovely slopes. Every run is open 100 percent, and the temperature is a mild 22 degrees. I bet it's perfect!

Last night the Grapevine was so treacherous that the California Highway Patrol escorted traffic across the pass in groups. I can only imagine the miserable wait times while vehicles crept down the steep mountainside. This morning a lovely coating of snow covered the green foothills, but now the hot sun is shining, and the lower elevation snow is all melted away.

Tomorrow I start up my truck and leave Castaic behind. I will miss the nice people, the palms and flowers, and Mike's Diner. I hope I am going home to see my family.


The Art of Staying out of Other People's Business

My recent experiences with people from the 'third realm' have catapulted me into an anger I had thought was long extinguished. I remember nosy questions aplenty, but never nothing like what is going on now. Phone calls from years past questioning everything from my marital bliss, to my personal economics, caused me to answer, and think, in rather glib terms. Like the comma splices I am so famous for, so too, my temper will reign supreme; I am at the point of 'no patience' anymore. I wonder why my life, my lovelife, my motherhood, my economics, my personal values, are so mysterious, and interesting, to those in the 'third realm.'

People classified in the 'third realm' are those whom have no interest in my success as a person; they are, instead, those who wish I would fall and crumble like a mountain into the abyss of eternal abscence. They are those extended relatives who would visit my home only when I was gone; two-faced home wreckers trying to crack the shell of my life. Some 'third realm people' are nosy women looking to prey on a man seemingly alone. They are the bitches of "free ride" ecstasy; they are the giggling pit of female inadequacy and failure, commonly referred to as 'twits.'

I am not referring to my well meaning friends and relatives, only those who are deceptive.

Lately, it seems the desperate and malignant bearers of big noses have taken all of it a step bit further, engineering a plan more sinister. However, none of this matters to me, my life is as secure as a port in a storm. Nothing is as puzzling and compassionate as true love. It waits forever under a calm canopy of blue, a plaza of cool tile, clay pots, and the lingering traces of peaceful, quiet sound. Spanish in its nature, spicy and real, a warm fire crackles in the center of a loving hearth; I am safe.

California Styles Today: Trucker Fashion!

This morning on Good Day LA, I watched the preview for next fall's fashion trends. Everything is going gauzy, glitzy, and flowing. The austerity of black is replaced with metallic, shining, vibrant colors. Hollywood elite would be shocked to learn a middle aged lady truck driver from Oklahoma is sitting a mere 40 miles away glued to the screen smiling. I don't see how any of the new styles will blend with Peterbilt trucks, and Great Dane trailers; but, it's fun to dream.

Today I have an old white t-shirt with little sequins embroidered on seahorses. My jeans are ripped out at the thighs. It's been raining so I have on my rubber boots. They are decorated with red poppies over a sea of black. Don't laugh, they are truly cute. I look like a typical SoCal yuppie.

I bought my earrings at Sallie Sue's Gift Shop in Tucson. They are long and dangly with little crystals on the bottom. If you want beautiful stones, then Tucson is the capital. I don't wear eye makeup much anymore; when I get really tired, I rub mascara all over my face. I slap on the sunscreen, a bit of Bare Minerals, and some really fabulous bronzer from Neiman Marcus. Then I put on a cheap lipstick, my sunglasses and Paris Hilton perfume (yes, I love Paris). After I brush my teeth, I am ready to go just about anywhere in America.

On busy days, I don't even look at my clothes. As long as they are clean, and appropriate for the weather, I throw them on and ride.When I have to dock my truck at a regular customer, I like to look nice. I have a black jacket with me, and I will pull on some cargo pants or dressy jeans.

Most women spend their money on expensive clothes hoping to make some kind of an impression. I don't need clothes to do my talking. But one of these days, I am going to dress just like everyone else. I am going to spend major money on the way I look. Until then, I am going to enjoy Good Day LA, and keep smiling.

LaWanda is Trucking Today

It's back to work for me this morning, and I don't want to go. I loaded my trailer yesterday, and it's sitting in a parking lot. My truck is across the street at my friends house waiting for me to get behind the wheel. Everytime I leave town, I am slapped with a wave of loneliness; I miss my child all of the time.

This economy has done a lot to hurt people.

But I have a wonderful and steady job; my boss is a saint. So, why am I so unhappy? Lots of other people are unemployed, homeless, underemployed, learning new skills, facing early retirement, in foreclosure, or struggling with an illness. I have none of those problems, but now I feel like giving up.

Maybe I am just sick of traveling and living alone. I never intended to stay out here forever.

When I first started to run California again, I was shocked at all of the new homes and how much money they were worth. Neighborhoods, shopping centers, and business complexes, had sprung up in places that I had earlier thought would never be inhabited. Now many of those places are is very surreal.

I am very lucky, and grateful, to have this much needed vocation. But sometimes, when I look at where I am, I feel nothing but loss and devastation. I drive my truck through those empty streets and I am reminded of my own divided life.

On television and radio lots of wealthy commentators sell doom and chaos while their ratings fly high. I drive down the road and listen to all of this negativity, and I refuse to believe. I don't think we are in the 'end times.' I don't believe we will fail as a country; I don't think Muslim extremists are going to conquer our lands; however, it is possible I will fight this miserable economy until my son is grown, and my hopes for a real family have faded to nothing.

That is so unfair. For a year I took off and looked for office work. I needed an office job while I applied for teaching positions. You can't drive a truck and run to meetings and interviews. I found nothing. Now Texas is facing a budget crisis similar to every other state. Teaching jobs are risky at best. Once the holy grail of states to teach in, it is now completely insecure. I spent money testing and training for absolutely nothing. Nothing so far, except a longer separation from my family.

Here I go again...trucking today.


Writing and Reading Green: What about John Steinbeck?

Professor Heather E. Bruce of the University of Montana, published a fascinating article in January's edition of The English Journal, Green (ing) English: Voices Howling in the Wilderness. As most of my readers already know, I am a John Steinbeck fan. I visit the Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California; I read his works regularly, and I have studied a bit about his life. Even though I am only an undergrad, and a poor one at that, I still appreciate his early contribution to conservation and ecological awareness. As I read Professor Bruce's piece, I drank my Bombay Sapphire, munched on popcorn, and eagerly awaited her words on my favorite author's early achievements on this subject matter. My mind flew to the dustbowl of Oklahoma, his intricate descriptions of blight, dust, and the underlying causes. I reminisced about the characters in "The Grapes of Wrath." I thought about the enemies he had made in California farming, and the banning of his book. I started to worry.

Not once did the professor mention John Steinbeck. She included Simon Ortiz, Langston Hughes, Mark Twain, and many important literary figures. I loved her discussion of the Mississippi River and how it had become a character in its own right. She reminded me that since Twain's time we have seen very negative changes in the delta region, and how ecological damage is compounded by disasters such as Katrina, and the BP oil spill.

John Steinbeck's best friend was marine biologist Ed Ricketts (1897-1948). Ricketts influenced much of Steinbeck's work and the underlying themes of ecology, and preservation. I could not believe the professor completely disregarded Pulitzer Prize winner John Steinbeck. I read her article again, and I scanned it for his name, or Ricketts, but nothing. Together Ricketts and Steinbeck explored and studied species, habitats, and even indigenous peoples. They traveled to Mexico, and other foreign countries, searching for new life, and recording data. These experiences contributed to all of Steinbeck's work.

In spite of this exclusion, I still love Professor Bruce's very informative and inspiring article. She is correct, it is our responsibility to share with our children the importance of environmental justice, and how this is demonstrated in our important literary works. It is artful, the blending of ecology with the mind of the character, the details of a scene, the realism of a period in time. How we have toxified our environment, and the descriptions of abuse, are important concepts to share in our reading and writing. In this way, we can teach responsibility to those who are disconnected from nature by an urban life, or poverty.

I am going to check again! She must have mentioned him….