TD52: Non-Truckers: Don’t Take It For Granted

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As I’ve stated before in “Why I do this,”  one of the main reasons I have an online presence is to inform non-truckers what it’s like to live as an Over-The-Road trucker. Sure, bad days can come off sounding a bit whiny sometimes, but the idea is not to gain sympathy. The plan is to help people stop and think when they’re around trucks. From what my non-trucker friends tell me, it’s been working.

Driving a truck isn’t the hard part of trucking. Living the life is. Once you learn how to drive the monster truck on steroids, the actual driving is usually a pleasure. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the desert, a hillside full of fall foliage in the Northeast, or a glimpse of Lake Coeur d’ Alene in Northern Idaho never gets old. It also helps not to have a boss who is constantly trying to catch you surfing the web instead of working.

Of course, there’s also the threat of crossing snow-covered Rocky Mountains, fighting rush hour traffic, and the very existence of New York City, which is about as much fun as a titty-twister from a professional arm wrestler. Still, the majority of time it beats staring at a cubicle wall and kissing some jerk’s buttocks day after day.

So what exactly is so hard about the trucking life? It’s the little things that most non-truckers rarely, if ever, think about. For instance,

When was the last time you:

  • had to wonder if your shower was going to have hot water?
  • had to worry about having good water pressure in that shower?
  • had to worry about even getting a shower?
  • had to get dressed in the middle of the night to take a leak, or worse?
  • had to blow a non-family member’s pubic hair off your toilet seat?
  • had to brush your teeth while smelling someone else’s butt funk or five someone else’s?
  • couldn’t easily get to a hospital when you were puking up something that resembles cottage cheese and hot dog chunks?
  • had to be a contortionist to make your bed?
  • were up all day and were then told you need to drive 500 miles?
  • got out of your vehicle and the parking lot smelled like boiling urine?
  • tried to pass a vehicle for 5 minutes before you gave up and got back behind the freak with the fickle right foot?
  • couldn’t find a place to park?
  • had to sleep in a pool of your own sweaty B.O.?
  • couldn’t sleep because your toes felt like they’d been dipped in liquid nitrogen?
  • got bad directions, cursed, missed your turn, cursed, and couldn’t turn around for 10 miles, cursing the whole time?
  • were woke up and solicited by a hooker? Sorry men. Dreams don’t count.
  • were separated from your spouse for over a week… and that happened every month?
  • were forced to have a marital spat over the phone?
  • missed your child’s big event because you were in another state delivering a load of really important ketchup packets?
  • had to post a “Beware of falling objects” sign in your vehicle to remind you every time you open a cabinet door?
  • couldn’t get to a Starbucks when you really, really, really needed a fix?
  • realized that your restaurant choices were limited to where you could park?
  • had to get out of your vehicle 10 times just to back into a parking space? And you weren’t 16-years-old.
  • had to drive up a painstakingly long 6-mile hill at 25 miles per hour?
  • had to drive down a painstakingly long 6-mile hill at 25 miles per hour?
  • were told you couldn’t drive any further until you got a nose-hair-sized crack in your windshield repaired?
  • had to account for every 15-minute period of your day?
  • had to sit for 10 hours just 15 miles from home because the Department of Transportation has deemed that it’s too dangerous to drive another 15 minutes?
  • had to live in a room the size of a walk-in closet, sometimes with another crabby person?
  • had to sleep in a bouncing bed? On second thought, don’t answer that.
  • had to pack a suitcase to go to work?
  • had to do 15 loads of laundry in 30 hours? I should have bought stock in April Fresh Tide years ago.
  • had to pay twice as much as another driver for the exact same traffic violation?
  • were issued a DUI after one beer? CDL holders can be; because we all know that the type of plastic card you hold makes all the difference in how your body handles booze.
  • had to fuel at a particular station, even if the lines were longer than an NBA star’s criminal record?
  • had to take a particular route to work, even if it took longer than the way you’d prefer to go?
  • had to cancel a vacation because your employer couldn’t get you home in time?
  • were told you could go home on Friday afternoon, but you didn’t actually get there until the following Thursday?
  • got a 30-hour weekend after working for 3 or 4 weeks?
  • said “TGIF” and it actually meant something?
  • had a friend that didn’t involve an Internet connection?

I rest my case for now. I urge my non-trucking readers to appreciate the normal lives that they lead. Your life may seem mundane at times, but please don’t take it for granted. When you’re on your way to your weekend golf game or a baby shower, remember the truckers that are en route to the docks at Golfsmith and Babies-R-Us. Hopefully, those thoughts carry over into the weekdays too.

To the folks out there who are considering driving a truck for a living, I’d like you to think long and hard about what you’re getting into. While it’s true that you’ll never really know if you’re cut out for the trucking life until you’re actually doing it, you can do everything in your power to be informed before you try to enter the industry.

Talk to truckers. Read about trucking. Ride along with a trucker for a week or more if you can manage it. Whatever you do, please don’t get into trucking without careful consideration. The last thing we need out here is another whiny trucker. Just follow me on Twitter if you don’t believe me. 🙂

*So, what is it that I missed? What do you think people shouldn’t take for granted? Let us all know by leaving a comment. And please pass this post along to all your non-trucking friends. Who knows? Maybe they’ll started giving us truckers a bit more consideration out on the road. Thanks.*

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27 Responses to TD52: Non-Truckers: Don’t Take It For Granted

  1. Tracy Lynn September 11, 2010 at 9:56 AM #

    Well said my friend, well said!

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:47 AM #

      Thank you. I manage to say something slightly less than idiotic every now and then. 😉

  2. helmetorheels September 11, 2010 at 10:16 AM #

    I don’t know how I found your blog and then your Twitter account, but I’m glad I did! You are always interesting!!

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:46 AM #

      I’m glad you get a kick out of it. I, too, wish I knew how you found my blog. I’d like to nab more readers like you. If every one of my readers spread the word like you do, I’d be as popular as one of those reality show celebrities. You know, like ol’ what’s his name. Seriously. What’s his name?

  3. raysunshine77 September 11, 2010 at 10:20 AM #

    This should be mandatory reading before even the permit test.

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:43 AM #

      Sounds good to me. Now… how can I charge everyone for it?

  4. Christy September 11, 2010 at 10:44 AM #

    Another great blog, Todd! I shared it on my FB page, and it will show up in all of my friend’s feeds. More people need to know what we really deal with out there. I don’t take any of the simple pleasures of life for granted anymore, that’s for sure. My little bunk serves as my kitchen, my bedroom, my living room, and my bathroom. It can be incredibly difficult
    to live in such a tiny space, and I think I will take your advice about the “falling items from cabinets”. lol!

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:53 AM #

      Thanks for sharing it with your Facebook friends. I really do appreciate that. Man, that sure is true what you say about the bunk area. It’s where all the action takes place. As far as falling objects go, they were one of the top 5 things most likely to make The Evil Overlord curse a blue streak. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a great comment!

  5. Christy September 11, 2010 at 10:45 AM #

    PS: What’s the difference between a puppy and a trucker driver?
    Answer: After 6 weeks, the puppy stops whining! lol!
    Sorry, couldn’t resist. Anyway, isn’t it true that the squeaky wheel
    gets the oil? So, we all should complain away….maybe things will
    improve for the better if enough of us speak up.

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:55 AM #

      Oh, don’t resist! That’s so true. Truckers are whiners. I know I’ve been one a lot lately. Someone please grease me. Oh wait, that came out wrong! LOL

  6. trucking jerry September 11, 2010 at 8:47 PM #

    wow trucking really does suck when you read it on here should of stayed in school well said sir

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:57 AM #

      You’re right, Jerry. The Evil Overlord and I are trying to drill that very thought into our nephews while they’re still young. STAY IN SCHOOL, YOU LITTLE FART-KNOCKERS!!!

  7. fltruckerwife September 13, 2010 at 1:00 AM #

    LOVE this! So true.

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:58 AM #

      I’ll bet the hubster is living and learning this every day, isn’t he?

  8. Billy September 13, 2010 at 5:26 AM #

    From one trucker to another good job. Lots of good info for newbies.

    Do you have an email address where i can contact you. Would you be interested in doing a guest post on my website http://www.smart-trucking-jobs.com.. I can also show you how to have your own website an earn some decent money from it. Might as well get paid Blogs. If you are interested contact me at billy@smart-trucking-jobs.com

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 2:59 AM #

      Did you say “money?” Where’s that e-mail address? Ah-ha! There it is! 😉

  9. herbsandwonders September 17, 2010 at 8:18 AM #

    wow. I sure do have a new found appreciation for you trucker peeps. That’s rough esp. taking second seat to boxes of really important ketchup. We’re lucky to have you out here on the internets!

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 3:04 AM #

      Thank you. For years I’ve been telling people how rough it is out here on the road. Surprisingly, it just comes off as whining. Who knew?

  10. Lisa Nowak September 19, 2010 at 2:40 AM #

    I just discovered your blog while researching HAZMAT loads. I love your sense of humor.

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 3:09 AM #

      You see, I have to unload my humor on the rest of the world. Why? Because The Evil Overlord has heard every thing funny that I’ve ever said, and now I’m just annoying to her when I speak. 😉

  11. 2zpoint September 19, 2010 at 10:02 PM #

    Mr. Mc Cann,
    Your illustration is the most honest, funny at times, and down right factual account of truck driving life I have ever heard outside of setting around with a group of thirty year truckers waiting on a load.
    My 10 years of trucking are over now due to the fact that I am pursuing a mechanical engineering degree.
    Keep that shiny side up pat’ner! … and do’nt let the DOT have too much of your lunch money out on the playground!

    • Todd McCann October 5, 2010 at 3:14 AM #

      There you go. Had to ruin a perfectly good post by mentioning the name “DOT,” didn’t you? Dang. Now I just did it. Anyway, I appreciate the kind words. It takes an experienced trucker to know the truth when he hears it. Glad you’ve escaped the trucking industry and are now pursuing a mechanical engineering degree. Now quit surfing the web and get back to your calculus homework. 😉

      And please invent some windshield wipers that will actually keep the ice from forming on the blades. My arm is getting cold hanging out the window to “thump” the wiper. You know what I mean.

  12. Chicago Teeth Whitening October 29, 2010 at 3:21 PM #

    This is a pretty decent website. I have already been back many times during the last 7 days and want to register for your rss by using Google but cannot work out the way to do it exactly. Would you know of any instructions?

    • Todd McCann November 8, 2010 at 1:37 AM #

      Thanks for stopping by so often. I assume you mean that you’d like to subscribe by using Google Reader? If yes, then this should work:

      Go to my blog at http://abouttruckingjobs.wordpress.com/
      Click on the red RSS button
      Copy the URL, or just copy it from here: feed://abouttruckingjobs.wordpress.com/feed/
      Open Google Reader
      Click on “Add a subscription” in the upper left corner
      Paste the URL into the box and click “Add.”

      That should do the trick. Hope that works.

  13. PrettyInPurple July 11, 2013 at 8:03 AM #

    You did miss something. While people may rarely take into consideration of what the driver has to go through it is even more rare for them to take into consideration what the driver’s family goes through. My husband is a lease purchase driver and for the first year after our son was born he stayed ho,e and worked locally. He is now back over the road and has been gone all of 10 days. It’s hard on our son because he does not understand why daddy is gone but he can still see him on skype. But he can’t give him hugs and kisses. He is confused. It is hard on me adjusting to him being gone once more and not having the constant physical companionship.

    My point being no one takes into consideration the huge sacrafice that drivers and their families make to keep this country moving. I hear a lot of “you shouldn’t have married a truck than” or “stop whining” or “get over it”. Ok, let me take tour his and away and put him on the road for 6 weeks at a time and when he does come home it’s for 2 days because you guys have a truck payment, insurance, fuel, food, health insurance ect to pay for and than watch your kids get upset and confused because daddy is gone and they don’t understand. ONLY AFTER THIS can you tell me to quit whining and crap.

    Sorry for the mini rant. Sensitive.topic for me.

    • Todd McCann July 16, 2013 at 3:43 PM #

      Mini rant… mega rant… I’m fine with either, PrettyInPurple. 😉 Especially when you’ve got such a great point. Sorry I overlooked it.

      Actually, I think it’s not just the non-truckers that overlook the families of the drivers. I think we drivers sometimes tend to overlook them too. I think we tend to glamorize the home life, thinking the spouse has got it easy back home. But we often forget about all the stuff you have to deal with when we’re gone. Single-parenting, household jobs, etc are a lot easier when there’s two people. And long-distance relationships aren’t much fun for either party.

      So thanks for pointing out my omission, PrettyInPurple. I’ll try to remember than in the future.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Appreciate the Normal Life You Lead — The Good Men Project - May 23, 2012

    […] Originally appeared at About Trucking Jobs […]

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