Monday, June 06, 2022

Working me to the Bone!

 How's summer / winter treating everybody? It's 102 in the California Desert right now (40Celcius) and I don't have air conditioner on. Story for another day. Where were we? The Pacific Northwest, i.e. Washington State, delivering Easter mail. I was driving between Washington State and Idaho. Idaho is known for potatoes and Washington for Apples (I'm not 100% sure, but I refuse to Google this right now). The driver we woke up from his truck one midnight and I got paired up. He was leaving. They wanted me to take over his route. I had a nice time sitting in the passenger seat while he did all the work. We talked about everything under the sun. I love hearing stories of people who are in really long relationships and are still in love. They were in the process of buying their forever home, it was an overall beautiful story. I feel bad we woke him up that night because they put him in a nicer hotel than mine.

Here's the food I stuck in the plain Luggage compartment. Press Play

One of the guys we worked with seemed to pop up everywhere I went. At first, I thought he worked for the Post Office, then I found out he was kinda like our  supervisor? Nice guy, very quick witted. He could keep up with me. When I found out he was my boss, I watched my inappropriate jokes. You how hard that is for me, badum pshhhh! 🥁 I was introduced to this semi handsome guy by the boss but there was no mention as to whether he was going to be my manager. As a matter of fact, my boss didn't quite say his correct name at first, so there's that! The company I was helping out had a lot going on, a lot of people were either quitting or being fired. After I trained with the sleeping trucker, they never sent me on that route again. Kind of a pity because it was easy. I did a lot of overnight driving. My least favorite way to truck. Nobody ever listens to my wishes! Welcome to trucking! I also did a lot of helping out whenever someone quit or got fired. This meant that I didn't have my own designated route. Sometimes, I would still be finishing off my 10 hour rest break and have to get up and catch a ride with another trucker, there by not logging one, which, to DOT (dept of whoever the fck) looked like I was still in bed. Hello! What about me? What about the fact that I, Babalwa Brook, am not getting the rest I need and deserve? What the eff? 

Lots of delivering to Post Offices in urban areas, meaning, not enough rooms for trucks. And I was hauling a 53' trailer. Once in a while, they would give me a 48'. Nobody tells you. They just say, hey, detach from the trailer on door so and so and connect to such and such a door. when you get there, something looks funny, but you can't put your finger on it. It's midnight, maybe I'm tripping. Or they tell you to leave the whole truck and take the one already attached to a loaded trailer. You had been using your truck for days in a row and kept it clean. Now, you have to move to a smelly truck where someone was sleeping directly on the mattress. You will be taking a 10 hour break wherever the eff you will be delivering, so, you're going to have to sleep on the same gross mattress. Between that, cigarette smoke smell, feet, food, armpits, etc and trying not to forget anything in the truck you were semi-settled in. AND you just filled the tanks of the previous truck, now, the new one needs fuel. Golly! All in a night's work! 

I had to ask for a new mattress, as they should give every driver a fresh mattress. At least, that was the procedure with the first shitty trucking company I worked for. My manager, nice guy, arranged to get me a mattress. There had been a shortage of all kinds of supplies due to the pandemic. I knew about truck mattress shortage before I was kicked out of the previous company. 

I was spending more days sleeping in the truck than in the hotel. I almost wished they would give me the money they were paying the hotel for me to shower and keep my clothes. Like, what? Then again, it was comforting to know that the hotel was there and to fantasize about resting in my comfy bed with my electric blanket. One day, I was in the foyer,  I met a guy who looked like he was in my shoes. The receptionists who were my friends at this point (all but 2.5) told me he was a trucker from Arizona. He was hired through my temp agency. He took my number. You already know that wasn't my idea because I never want to exchange contacts! Here's the story of a trucker I exchange numbers with. He called me once or twice. Both times he talked at me and wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. I was not going to be taking more calls from someone like that. For what? So I can be your audience? I used to get paid to be audience, Sir! 

Instead of boss picking me up and dropping me to and from work, I suggested I just take the truck home and park in hotel parking. He agreed - ish. For those days, I would drop the trailer at the P.O. and bobtail to the hotel. But I always had to leave the key somewhere they can access without waking me up in case someone else needed to use the truck. That did happen and they did smoke IN the truck! 

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  1. You're a strong adventurer.
    The least all these trucking companies could do, is provide fresh mattresses for their drivers.
    I suppose they'll say it's not economically viable or profitable for them to do so.
    Camping is one thing, no problems, but I'm not going to lie, my sense of hygiene in some of the scenarios you've described would be severely challenged.
    They should also provide delivery vans at certain designated points, especially if you have to deliver in areas which are not built for trucks.
    Maybe I'm just being too logical, sharing another idea which would eat into their profits. lol!
    Bye for now. :-)

    1. Yes, Phil! Logic and trucking? Not so much! Not having done it for a while now, I look back at some of the scenarios and shudder. Spoiler alert! This particular company closed down not long after I worked for them.
      Love and light!