Truck driving school lasted about 4 weeks. There were 20 students in the class and only 2 women. I soon learned that would be the normal ratio in the industry. It was a fun and exciting time for me, learning a new skill at age 54, so very different from the quiet and predictable desk jobs I had done in the past. I learned that being a woman in a man’s world can be challenging, is rarely boring, and is surprisingly comfortable. I was treated with respect by my fellow students, never condescended to, and accepted without hesitation. There were no barriers.
Excerpts from the book:
Driving while Harry is asleep and I am alone in the cab, gives me an opportunity to ponder and I hope resolve many important questions: Am I traveling westbound? Am I supposed to be traveling westbound? Is my trailer full and I’m on my way to a delivery; or is it empty and I’m on my way to the shipper? That last question is important since weigh stations may ask, and they prefer the correct answer.
Rain, snow, sleet, and hail….
Or, taking a shower in a truck stop.
The larger truck stop chains offer a free shower with every fuel purchase of fifty gallons or more, but you must present your membership card to qualify for this promotion. Most truck stops allow a two-fer for teams, which is nice.
The goal is a shower at least every other day. It seems that some Drivers take the “other day” literally.
Some shower rooms are larger than you would expect to find in a hotel. Others are so small that it’s either you OR your cosmetic bag in the room. Shower spray is always a surprise. I’ve had strong, hot water; I’ve had spray so weak and cold, I could get better rinsing in a good fog.
Sometimes the towels have the texture and absorbency of a Triscuit, only smaller. But the average is exactly that: Decent towels; hot-enough water; clean, well-appointed rooms; helpful staff willing to make it good.
The bottom line: We get clean.
Our truck is equipped with a communication device (probably designed by Satan), approximately the size of a lidless laptop computer, called a QUALCOMM. It is firmly wired to the truck, so you cannot throw it away (many have tried and all have failed). The top third of this machine is a small LED screen and the bottom two-thirds is a keyboard and ten-key number pad. It has several function keys, allowing you to create, send, and receive typed messages, and to scroll through canned messages. It also offers you an opportunity to change your mind when you hit the Send button, a helpful feature if you are upset and perhaps use some unfortunate language. Or, perhaps in your haste to express an opinion, you realize you just called someone a “Maroon,” and strongly suggested “Duck you” or they are “Full of spit” because your keyboarding skills are weak. The most useful thing about the QUALCOMM is its weight, since it will make an excellent weapon during a hijacking.
(I only think of this on Highway 99 or when in Pleasanton, California). Since BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit and other areas have similar A-R-T services… What does Fresno call their Area Rapid Transit? Wouldn’t you love to create those ads?