Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sputtering With Excitement

Thursday night we arrived in Louisville for the biggest truck show of the year - the Mid-America Trucking Show - known in the industry as MATS.  The parking lot of Papa John's stadium was packed, the most trucks we'd seen in years.  Ed found a spot so tight, it was evident why noone else parked in it.  It took him several pull ups, which is very unusual, but he finally got in.  There was a guy in a pickup truck waiting for Ed to park, and after Ed got in the spot, the guy honked his horn and gave Ed a big thumbs up.  That's my Eddie - so skilled behind the wheel, he can back into a thimble!  There was an adjacent lot that was entirely empty, but they didn't open it up until the next day.  Bastards. 

We didn't do the entire three days this year.  First of all, it's too much damn walking, there are too many damn people, and we only had a day and a half to spare since we had to be in Nashville later today.  We've been coming every year for the past nine and I can't think of anything we haven't seen.

We did have a full day yesterday though - arrived at the Kentucky Expo Center first thing in the morning and closed the place down later that night.  The security guards had to tell Marlaina and I - we were waiting for the boys to finish oohing and aahing over the rolling tarp systems - that the doors were closing to the show floor and we had to leave.  We were the equivalent of the stragglers in a bar, who are there until they turn all the lights up and shock you back to reality.

One of the things we do when at the show is enjoy lunch set up in the conference rooms by Landstar, the company we're leased to.  They usually have a pretty good spread and the room is quiet and offers a much needed reprieve from the constant hustle and bustle, noise and craziness of the show.  We usually go in, listen to a little spiel by one of the executives, collect a few free pens and keychains, chat with other drivers, and have lunch.  This year, we ran into one of the guys who was in the class we took in January and caught up on how he and his wife were doing navigating the new division we're all in.  We exchanged pleasantries and then made a beeline for the food.

On our way to the buffet table, we passed a man and woman sitting alone at one of the table.  I looked at her and instantly got all excited inside.  I grabbed Ed's elbow and said, "See that girl over there?" jerking my head toward her and pointing with my eyes.

"Yeah?" he said, not sounding interested at all.

"That's the trucker chick who was in the Oprah magazine!"

"Oh yeah?"  Still bored.

"Yes!  I'm going over to talk to her."  And I took off toward her table. 

I sat right down next to her, touched her on the arm and said, "Aren't you the woman from the Oprah magazine?"

She smiled HUGE, laughed a little, and said, "Yeah."  The man sitting next to her - who turned out to be Michael, her boyfriend - smiled huge as well.

Words came tumbling out of my mouth as I told her how I read the article about her in Oprah, how I never imagined I would run into her, that I was also a driver and drove team with my boyfriend, that I had a blog going into its ninth year, was at the show with friends and to meet some business contacts, and would she come sit with us at our table?  She said yes!

I brought her over to our table and introduced her to everyone - she must have thought I was some crazy starstruck freak - and then sat down and talked more about her experience, how she got into the magazine, etc.  It was during that conversation that she told me about her recent appearance on the Ricki Lake show.
In this picture:  standing in back, Sputter, Me and Ed, and sitting in front, Marlaina, and Luisa, who is the editor of Long Haul Magazine.  Marlaina's husband and Sputter's boyfriend were both taking a picture at the same time - we're all looking at one and Luisa is looking at the other - but at least we're all smiling!

And that's what's it's all about, isn't it?  Having a good time with friends, old and new.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Water May Not Be The Only Liquid Nourishing These Flowers
2011: Nappy Time
2010: Dick. Not A Dick. Which One Are You?
2009: First The Poultry, Now This
2008: California Moon
2007: Ryno And Rob
2006: Living The Dream
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


Anonymous said...

Another truck driver leased to Landstar is guy that goes by the name SMD 5231 on Youtube. He is Russian so I wont try and spell his name. He does lot of videos.

Belledog said...

I just ordered Jeanne Marie Laskas' book with Sputter article in it last week. Very well written. Will send you the article once it arrives; Laskas condensed it for Oprah magazine.

Book is "Hidden America", about people in the jobs most people take for granted (air traffic control, mining, all types of workaday worlds).

Glad to hear that Michael wised up. (From the book.) Sputter sounds like a treasure, and a very genuine person.

Cool you met her and got to see Marlaina.

See that McGyver has escaped a photo yet again. Taking one. A likely story.