By: C.L. Miller
For the most part, the men I encounter in this job are considerate and respectful. They treat me like an equal without being condescending.
Interestingly, it doesn’t always go that way with the women.
Many times I have heard my husband and other men addressed as “Sir” by a female server in a restaurant, but my name is “Sweetie”. At Shippers and Consignees, the women on the staff sometimes ask my husband questions about the load right over my head, as if I am a child. I recently dealt with a female at a guard shack who gave me driving instructions when I had to turn our truck in a tight spot. (I finally told her I’ve been doing this for several years and asked her to stop shouting unusable suggestions at me because it wasn’t helping.)
I usually manage to bite back a snippy comment. Occasionally I will respond to the “Sweetie” with a “Honey-Pie” of my own. (It doesn’t make a difference, but I feel better!) When a Customer gets that condescending attitude, my husband will refer them back to me, which frequently makes the point.
As for those folks that just don’t know any better, I let it roll off my back. I even chuckle when I get the question, “You actually DRIVE this truck?”
I’m sure every female who was among the first to break the gender-barrier in her profession faced the same obstacles. We are in excellent company with women who are doctors, attorneys, members of Congress, high-ranking military officers, scientists — it is a long and proud list.
We will know we have arrived when the phrase changes from “woman truck driver” to just “truck driver.”