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May 2011

Hobbs New Mexico: Waiting on the Wind

Today we are in Hobbs, New Mexico, waiting for the wind to calm so we can go over to Texas and begin reloading tomorrow. The gusts are in the sixties, and the dirt is thick in the air, but life goes on in Hobbs with weathered tired faces, stringy flying hair, and shopping carts blowing around the Walmart parking lot.

The night before last, after a day of looking at the destruction in Joplin, I had a nightmare reeling for hours, continually looping, slow motion and chilling. A woman with penciled, arched, blackened eyebrows was staring at me from a dark velvet chair; yesterday I was stressed and couldn't get anything to go right, my mind would see her again, and again. I can see her now. She seems to represent the collective judgment of my neighbors and acquaintances, their misquided and filthy thoughts, illogical and ignorant; I have no use for their talk, ever so thin, without imagination.

Maybe the sharp dark woman is simply the weather girl, evil and merciless, pillaging the country with her tornadoes, wind, fire, drought, and floods. The warning in her arched brows is howling in the wind, around the corners of my truck, while my little boy watches his movies, and eats his dinner.

Tornadoes hit Oklahoma today bouncing vehicles off of Interstate 40, while my son and I battled our own wind in New Mexico. I thought of my dream, I studied her angry face, and I wished we were home with our car, and a beach towel, playing in the sand, watching the dog chase hermit crabs. Maybe soon.

Rude Drivers: Will it ever end?

On any given day, I put up with more stupidity before eight o'clock in the morning than most people get in a week. I endure careless drivers cutting me off, rude truckers refusing to pull out of fuel lanes, third world truckers making obscene facial expressions, and scheduling problems any airline would be proud to tackle.

Last night a slobby character driving a junky truck and pulling a Hill's Brothers trailer, filled his reefer tank and then went inside the Petro to pay without first pulling away from the pump. He knew I was waiting behind him; he knows he is supposed to pull ahead into the space provided for people waiting in the checkout line. He was just too lazy. He cost me an hour. The men from the shop had to come over and ask him to leave; he was that rude. He called me a lot lizard and suggested I should back up and go to another pump. All of the pumps were taken, the Petro was in the midst of a rush.

Yesterday morning in Oxnard, California, at Western Cooling (a truly tough place to back into) a John Christener driver grabbed three gears in the parking lot so he could beat me to the street and get backed in ahead of me. He had door twelve. I had door eleven, and another truck was in door ten. This meant I had to jack my truck into a spot between a curb, some big yellow posts, and 2 trucks. The check in window at Western Cooling dispatches the trucks into docks in numerical order to prevent this kind of mess. I confronted John Christener, and he talked like an idiot.

Now we have the third world trucker...a man who acts as if he has never seen a woman behind the wheel. In fact, they act like they have never seen any women at all. Most of them are new arrivals from Latin America, but not all. This is an unintended consequence of our new cross border trucking mess. Not only are they radically different in tradition and culture, they have weird ideas about American women. Some of them are so obscene and rude, it's truly disturbing. They use their lips, hands, and hips to make romantic proposals. I am totally sick of them.

I used to enjoy trucking; but, the new hours of service rules are so stupid and capricious, driver quality is getting so low, and truckstops and facilities are so overwhelmed, it's now like a prison.

I can't wait to get out!

Glad Osama is Over

Finally we have a little justice in the death of terrrorist Osama Bin Laden. In fact, for someone who loves the English language and poetic justice, it is all rather rhythmic. Obama executed Osama in Pakistan revealing a two-faced ploy beyond measure. At the same time the President silenced the multitudes who believed we had put a Muslim terrorist in the White House.

However, the plot thickens. Conspiracy theorists are not exactly hailing our chief; instead, they believe Obama martyred Osama, a theory beyond ridiculous.

Obama's blessing on the raid that killed Osama was not only political genius, and an amazingly courageous high stakes gamble, it also helps heal the wounds of uncertainty and grief the American public has struggled with all of these years.

I am still unhappy with Obama about aspects of the healthcare law, but he had the nerve to take on big insurance. You have to respect that, I don't care what your political leanings. I strongly disagree with his border policies and cross border trucking; however, I admire his savvy. Maybe Mexico's President should be considering the gifts we have sent his country (industry, trade, technology, cash, security, training) and soften his anti-American rhetoric just a bit. He is wearing out his welcome with the taxpaying public.

Whatever the case, I will never forget the night I sat in my truck at the Airline Market in Houston and decided to turn on my television. I flipped through several boring programs and decided to leave it on just for the companionship of voices in conversation. When the program was interrupted with the breaking news, I was overwhelmed with pride.

I drive a truck, all by myself, while women in those Arab countries fight to read a book. I handle my own money, own my own property, and work freely, and without much hassle, in a male dominated industry. I have been behind the wheel for almost 30 years. I have a college education.

In Afghanistan, and many other places, young girls are denied the joy of independence and education. They are not taught a vocation, and they are treated inhumanely, like objects.  I am so thankful I am an American. My life is not perfect, but I am free as a bird!

Thank you!