What would make a fifty-something, well brought-up mother all of a sudden opt to become a trucker?
It’s a first-rate question and, like most good questions it had answers both basic and complex. From ‘it sounds like fun’ through ‘it’s a traditional immigrant job’ via ‘well, I could earn more cash in a truck than I could using a Master’s degree’ with a detour along ‘I’ve driven ambulances and stretch limos, if I want to be bigger it’s either a truck or a plane and this course is cheaper’…none of these reasons quite encapsulated everything.
And these were merely the rationalisations for that much vaguer pull towards the massive beasties that I’d been observing on the highway ever since emigrating from the UK to Canada. There was clearly no rationalisation needless to say for that other vague pull, a lifelong obsession with doing things merely because they’re a little bit weird.
Adding to my list of reasons that it seemed like a terrific angle for a book on trucking assisted a tad when trying to explain to those with no imagination, although not much.
Actually, I hadn’t anticipated panic when I breezed into Tri-County Truck Driver Training one afternoon in 2008. I just wanted to find out what it took to be a trucking lady. I wanted to discover the USA, how hard might it be?
Obviously there is a minor difference between studying to handle a 75-foot, slow-moving guided missile and dreaming of getting money to see the continent; and actually earning a living. Spending 14 hours per day smelling of diesel. My first job was taking trailers filled with mail from East to West. Team driving across Canada’s vast prairies and across The Rockies, and sometimes getting lucky enough to get back home via Texas. That Lake Effect Winter Storm was just one of our countless weather-related narrow squeaks. North American trucking can be quite the drama.
Ihave been almost arrested in Baltimore, sick as a dog in Tennessee, terrified in Chicago, Dallas and Detroit and dug out from the snow twice within a night in Alberta. I’ve made pals in Virginia and enemies at home. And, given half a chance, I’d probably forget about how impossibly strenuous it is and set off again to drive 18 wheels over the horizon.