Okay. I admit it. I just lost my cool. But this time, I’m not apologizing for it. I’ve been known to snap at people now and then. If I realized that I was wrong, I’d sometimes feel guilty (not always) and apologize to the person who got snapped at… unless it’s The Evil Overlord of course. Never admit to your spouse that you were wrong about anything. So here’s how it went down.[box]Listen to the audio version above and subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.
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Let me start by saying that I’m not having a good day. I woke up with The Evil Overlord ripping the covers off me and telling me that she didn’t make good time. She insisted I figure up our average. This happens on a regular basis (the insisting and the making bad time, not the cover-ripping), so I don’t blame her for my venom-spitting attitude. You might ask, “What’s an average?” What we mean, is the mile per hour that we have to “average” in order to deliver on time. I divide the total miles left on the trip, by the number of hours that we have to do it. That determines whether we eat fast food, or if we have time to eat healthier. Sometimes math and mornings just don’t mix. This cheery morning, the average came out to 83 mph. Uh-oh. Thus the crappy attitude ensues.
We are on yet another hot load, this time from Indianapolis, IN to Oakland, CA. Like I said, it was a hot load, but I really didn’t think we were doing that poorly on this particular trip. We weren’t. You see, there’s these things called time zones. I’ve been dealing with time zones for 13 years now, and every so often one jumps up to kick me square in the teeth. It turns out that California is on Pacific time, which is two hours behind the Central time zone that we run on. BEHIND, Todd, BEHIND!! I had figured it two hours AHEAD. So instead of 83 mph, we really only had to average 35 mph. Of course I didn’t realize this until I sped all the way across Donner Pass and got into Sacramento. Once I realized my mistake, my mood got worse. Sure, we’d be on time now, but what kind of an idiot makes a mistake like that? Don’t answer that.
Now I arrive at the receiver. I’ll not name names, but I’ve been here before, so I know the procedure. The last time I was here, the guard shack asked if I had a co-driver. Since I did, they wanted to see The Evil Overlord’s driver’s license. Now I’d rather punch a mafia warlord in the gonads than reach my hand into The Evil Overlord’s purse, so I had to wake her up to find her ID. I always hate waking her up, and she wasn’t overly pleased with me, but hey, a couple of black eyes is the price you have to pay sometimes. Anyway, this time I was fully prepared.
Before we even got to the receiver, I already had The Evil Overlord’s ID in hand. I was feeling pretty smug for remembering to ask her while she was still awake. I pull up and the woman at the guard shack asks for my paperwork. No problem, here you go. Then she asks me for my ID. Happy to oblige. Next she asks, “Do you have anyone in the back.” Yes, I do. I handed her The Evil Overlord’s ID before she could even ask for it. That’s when it happened. The guard shack Nazi told me she needed to see my co-driver’s face.
I admit. I snapped. “Oh, c’mon! That’s bull#*@%!!! I didn’t have to wake her up the last time I was here!” It all went downhill from there. Hitler grabbed the phone and slammed the window shut like I was holding a flamethrower to her head. I was good and pissed by then, so I hollered back and told The Evil Overlord that they needed to see her face. After some cussing, she put some clothes on and stuck her grouchy-looking face out through the curtain. I tried to get the guard’s attention to tell her that my co-driver’s face was now visible. She didn’t respond, so I honked the little horn (not the big air horn). That’s when four more guards rounded the corner in a hurry and stepped into the guard shack.
I overheard Hitler say that I was cussing and calling her names. When one of the other guards asked if that was true, I admitted what I had said, but denied calling her any names. Naturally, she said I was lying. That didn’t help my mood either. Then the other guard asked me what the problem was. And here is the crux of it… and the reason I’m not apologizing to anyone.
When your co-driver is sleeping, they shouldn’t be disturbed. One of these days, the people of this great nation are going to have to realize that they can’t have safe roads AND sleepy truck drivers. This goes for waking drivers up in the middle of their sleep, as well as the many no-idling policies that are becoming law across the nation. I said as much to the guard.
He said that it was a TSA rule that both drivers must physically present themselves. I truthfully told him, “That wasn’t the rules the last time I came here.” He doubted me as I went on to say that I had never been asked to wake my co-driver up at ANY of their other facilities throughout the country. In fact, I had never even been asked to produce a co-driver’s ID before. I had been asked for her ID at a pick up location, but never a receiver. Keep in mind that I have been truck driving for 13 years, and have delivered to this particular unnamed company on and off throughout the years. Now, why would I get so cheesed about all this if every facility asked for an ID and an Evil Overlord sighting? I wouldn’t. Actually, I wouldn’t still be trucking if that were the case.
The guard reiterated to me that it was a TSA rule that had to be followed. I pointed out that the DOT has rules that I must follow, too. A driver’s log book is a federal document that is legally binding in every way. Lawyers produce these suckers in a court of law when they want to prove what a driver was up to on any given day. So, in disrupting The Evil Overlord’s sleep, I had two choices. I could log it as such, and she would have to start her 10-hour rest period over, or I could ignore that it happened and falsify my log books. I’ll let you decide which I did. Still, the point is, I’ve got rules to follow too.
I told the guard that waking up a sleeping co-driver would be like bringing the cops by his house at 3 a.m., knocking on his door, and telling him that they needed his wife to get out of bed and present herself at the front door. I went on to say, “What the heck do you think my wife is going to do in here? Run around naked with a bomb strapped to her back?” That did get a laugh out of him and things started to get calmer.
Here’s a couple more points to prove how stupid all of this is. All the loading docks were within plain sight of the guard shack. Really, what was I going to do right there in plain sight? Furthermore, all they wanted The Evil Overlord to do, was stick her head out from behind the curtain. What does that really accomplish? For all they knew, I had four psychotic terrorists wearing C-4 laden underwear back there.
Anyway, I eventually got my paperwork back and prepared to enter the gate. I turned my ignition switch and… nothing. Five minutes later and a couple of taps on the starter, the old bitch finally turned over. So, it looks like this worthless pile of rhinoceros dung is going back into the shop for the sixth time. The air conditioning still isn’t fixed and our starting issues still aren’t worked out. THE SIXTH TIME!! Oh yeah. I see my mood getting better aaaaany minute now.
Well, I suppose there is one thing that I should be thankful for. I finally got a blog post out. Maybe I should get pissed more often. It seems that being all red-faced and buggy-eyed makes me type faster than a squirrel on crack.
Photo by Will Imholte via Flickr