Phase 2, Day 11: Interstate Nostalgia/Partner Problems

As I drove through Texas this morning, I passed through Big Spring, the place of my birth. After a few hours more, I watched the sunrise in Fort Worth, where I grew up and presently reside. Further on, I passed through Athens, where I used to attend summer camps. This morning was a nostalgia trip.

As I passed near my home, I wished dearly that I could stop and visit my wife, sister, and cats. Unfortunately, we had to rush to Alabama to deliver the load. What we originally thought might take 22 hours would actually take about 28, with all the stops and inspections and traffic, meaning it couldn’t possibly be delivered when they expected it. So I contacted my fleet manager and arranged for a later delivery. We informed them that we could have it there by eight. They approved this change, and told us we would be picking up a load in Alabama headed right back to El Paso… So if everything goes according to plan, we will likely be passing along the same route I took this morning, but in reverse.

Unfortunately, it’s just as unlikely I’ll be able to stop by home as it was when I drove by this morning. I would love to take a couple days of home time, and I spoke with my teammate about taking a day of home time in Dallas now and then. If we take home time separately, we’d have to return to Murray, take a bus home, and waste tons of time. But if he and I take home time in the same place, we can simply take the truck there, wasting no time at all. I told him we’ve got a warm bed for him to sleep in, fresh-cooked food to eat, and good wifi, and when we first talked about it he seemed interested and amicable.

Today, however, I mentioned it and he seemed resistant, saying he didn’t want to waste time riding the bus and that he just wanted to burn through his 40,000 miles ASAP and not take home time. Apparently he forgot all about our conversation and the fact that he can take home time with me and avoid the bus. So I’m feeling a bit anxious that he might try to resist taking home time.

This guy started off seeming like a good partner, but more and more I’m recognizing his flaws. He doesn’t accept constructive criticism, blames others for his mistakes, complains about our situation (even though we’re doing well now that we’re back on the road), has little patience, and judges others harshly (even for things over which they have no control).

He does have good qualities, don’t get me wrong. He listens when I tell stories or when I talk about what’s happening at home. He offers advice when he feels it’s appropriate. He’s generous. He is driven to work hard, and has aspirations for success. He doesn’t use cuss words — which might not seem like a big deal, but when you’re surrounded by foul-mouthed truckers, it actually shows remarkable self-control. He’s got a pretty good plan for his financial future. He shows me respect, despite our glaring political, practical and philosophical differences. He doesn’t smoke, likes exercise, and pursues a generally healthy lifestyle. Overall he’s pretty easygoing and friendly. He’s not a terrible guy… he’s just blind or willfully ignorant of many of his own flaws. Set in his ways.

All in all, though, I only have to ride with him for two months, so it’s not a big deal. I’m a patient man. My only major concerns are with his home-time resistance, his driving too quickly around turns (I don’t want our truck to flip or loads to shift), and his resistance to suggestions.

I’m glad my wife won’t have to partner with a stranger when she joins our company. We already work well as a team, so it’ll make life a lot easier on the road. And she won’t risk having to pair up with a creep or a jerk.

(Sorry for the rant. I promise not to continue complaining about my teammate in future posts.)

I reached Louisiana at the tail end of my drive, then swapped with my teammate. After eleventh hours on the road, I was ready to sleep, and felt I’d have no problem doing so in the bouncing, rolling, rumbling truck.

After about five hours of sleep, I awoke feeling refreshed. We delivered at 6, left again at 7 and hit the road, headed right back to El Paso. Our load isn’t due til Monday, so if everything goes according to plan, we may be able to visit home on Saturday for our 34-hour restart. I’m excited for that prospect, because it means we don’t have to take home time right away (which should keep my teammate happy), we can reset our clocks, and we can roll hard for another week.

So that’s something to look forward to! I’ll let you know how everything goes in the next few updates. Until then, goodnight!

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