I feel I’ve been in hibernation. Since January 1st, I’ve been sick with a persistent sinus infection; three and a half long months of sniffling and sneezing and suffering, but it’s all coming to a head. For many, Springtime brings sinus trouble, but for me it’s brought relief. After a productive visit with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, I’m on track toward a final recovery. Heavy antibiotics, allergy medication, steroids and lots of water. It feels good to be wrapping up this chapter in my life.
Winter in the truck was quite a challenge. Driving wasn’t too bad, but the weather did slow us down on some occasions. We managed our way through it without too much hassle. The Winter pressed upon us like the Earth presses upon a seed, forcing the seed to push back, to fight against the Earth, pushing and pushing until it splits apart, then pushing ever more as it fights to become a tree. The birth of a tree is an act of pure defiance, and so was our survival through our first Winter in the truck. We survived months of illness and bad driving conditions, long nights and short days, witnessing countless trucks and other vehicles on the roadside, victims of Winter’s oppression. Yet we persevered, safe and sound, and have grown much stronger for the experience.
Perhaps my simile is a bit overzealous, but I really do feel as if we’ve survived a gauntlet.
We returned home a couple weeks ago, after over a month on the road with our new company. It was a much-needed respite from the challenges of the road. We’d been driving coast-to-coast, making most of our deliveries on-time, but due to traffic jams, construction, severe weather and other unavoidable maladies, we delivered a number of shipments late. Every time this happened, my anxiety spiked. Our new company wouldn’t reschedule the delivery like the old company did. At the old company, they’d shift the goal posts so that we still delivered on-time, but with the new company, the delivery windows are fixed, so if we’re late, we’re late. (I abhor being late.) So on those unavoidable delays, when I knew the load would be even ten minutes overdue, I’d start worrying: Am I going to lose my job over this? How many times are they going to let me deliver late before they fire me? Where will Christina and I work if they fire us? They know this was unavoidable, right? Yet the answer was always the same: “Just do your best.” The company works based on an on-time delivery percentage. They promise to deliver on-time 98% of the time, and they don’t reschedule to make this happen. They are honest with their actual delivery statistics, and they strive for that 98% mark. Yet they don’t threaten their drivers in order to meet these goals. They pay us well, give us good benefits, treat us like family, and encourage us to do our best. And it works. Once we took our first home-time, I realized that the proverbial “other shoe” wasn’t going to drop. I was like a child waiting for my corporate “parents” to punish me, but instead they simply said “You did your best, and we’re proud of you.” It took me a while to shift gears from fear to reassurance, but my time at home helped immensely, allowing me to return to the road refreshed, renewed, and ready to roll.
While I was sick, it was incredibly hard for me to make time for any side projects (this blog included—sorry for the long hiatus) because when I wasn’t driving I was struggling to get enough sleep to stay alert during my next shift. There was no time for writing or programming or any of my other hobbies. So when I came home, I was so excited for the down-time, looking forward to all the progress I could make on my projects. I’d been tossing around some ideas for fiction I’d like to write, and thinking about what I wanted to say in my next blog post, and itching to do some bug-squashing in a software project I’d been working on. But instead of all this, Christina and I spent all of our time with friends and family and doing home-improvement work, all of which was well worth the effort. We visited my family and treated them all to a delicious Hibachi dinner in celebration of my mother’s birthday. We spent an incredible night with a bevy of beloved friends, celebrating the coming Spring with a grand party, followed the next morning by a delicious breakfast and a fascinating Unitarian Universalist church service where a local professor discussed his studies regarding Shamanism and Psychology. We had drinks on the town with another good friend who we hadn’t seen in quite a while (due to our trucking and his attending college). And we did a good deal of decorating and maintenance on our home, giving it a more welcoming and aesthetically-pleasing atmosphere. (Not to mention, of course, my visit to the doctor and the resulting path to recovery.) All-in-all, it was a very busy and rewarding week, and I didn’t get a lick of work done on any of my personal projects. Thanks to the ear, nose and throat doctors, however, I have been able to sleep better, which has allowed me to eke out a little time for my projects on the road. Thanks to them, this post is finally being published!
So here we are again, back in the truck and burning up the highways. We’re heading from Georgia to Sacramento, California as I write this. Spring is finally arriving, and I’ve got to say, despite the challenges of Winter, I’ve very much enjoyed watching the changing of the seasons throughout the United States. That’s one of the things I cherish most about this career. Before trucking, I’d seen the seasons shift in Virginia, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. But as a trucker, I’ve been able to watch the seasons change throughout the entire country, observing the immense variety of life this land has to offer. It’s a truly awesome experience, and I’m grateful to be a witness to it all.
Well, I guess I should be getting back to sleep. We’ll be delivering this load soon, and I don’t know where we’ll be heading after that. Best to get my rest while I can.
Much love to you all, and thank you for your patience during this time of few updates. I hope you’ve had a good Winter, and that your Spring brings great beauty and bountiful joy.
Bye for now.