Why on earth would a fifty-something, well brought-up mother suddenly decide to become a trucker?
It was a good question and, like most good questions it had answers both easy and complex. From ‘it sounds like fun’ through ‘it’s an authentic immigrant job’ via ‘well, I could earn more dollars in a truck than I could by 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 possibly a plane and this course is cheaper’…none of these reasons quite encapsulated it all.
And these were merely the rationalisations for that much vaguer pull towards the massive beasties that I’d been enjoying watching on the highway since emigrating from the UK to Canada. There was no rationalisation of course for the other vague pull, a lifelong dependence on doing things merely because they’re a little bizarre.
Adding to my list of excuses that it seemed like an excellent angle for a book on trucking helped a bit when explaining to individuals with no imagination, but not much.
Actually, I hadn’t anticipated fright when I breezed into Tri-County Truck Driver Training one afternoon in 2008. I simply desired to know what it took to be a trucking lady. I wanted to see the United States, how hard could it be?
As expected there is a tiny difference between learning how to handle a 75-foot, slow-moving guided missile and dreaming of getting paid to see the continent; and actually earning a living. Spending 14 hours each 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 through The Rockies, and sometimes getting lucky enough to come home via Texas. That Lake Effect Winter Storm was just an example of our countless weather-related narrow squeaks. North American trucking can be quite the drama.
I’ve been almost arrested in Baltimore, sick as a dog in Tennessee, terrified in Chicago, Dallas and Detroit and dug from the snow twice in a night in Alberta. I’ve made pals in Virginia and adversaries in Ontario. And, given half a chance, I’d probably forget about how impossibly strenious it is and head out again to drive 18 wheels over the horizon.