Friday, May 12, 2006

Millions Of Miles Of Knowledge

This is the man who is teaching me how to drive a truck.

He's got over forty years of driving under his belt and gives the impression that he approaches every day as it's his last. The lines on his face visibly document the millions of miles he's traveled in his life -- over the road in his truck, serving our country in the military, winning the battle against alcohol, raising five children, and giving Viagra a run for its money, to name just a few.

He heads for cover when lightening brightens the sky for fear of his pacemaker bringing him to the ground, cigarette still dangling from his lips. When teaching me how to back the truck into a dock, he uttered the words, "Put that motherfucker in that hole. Steer left. Left! More left!! That's it. Straighten that bitch! Make it straight. There you go! Now that's the only straight there is." And in the next breath, "C'mere baby. You did just great." as he threw his arm around my shoulder.

He gave silent approval to my "runnin' off that other woman" as most of the guys in the class put it, since because of me the annoying woman in our class decided to quit this week and complete her training at another time. I guess my telling her that she hasn't shut up for the past four days drove her to have a crying fit and leave the training class. To which he responded, "If you can't handle someone telling you to keep your mouth shut, then maybe trucking isn't for you."

He has a teaching style that just draws you into learning. He tailors his analogies to each person, so they fully understand what he's talking about.  Likening slack adjusters to bra straps for a woman, and telling a guy to check over his truck in a pre-trip inspection the same way he'd eye a woman -- up and down, resting your eyes on every part of her body until you're satisfied you haven't missed a thing.

Even after only a week, I am certain I will never forget him.  I will forever hear his voice echo inside my head with things like, "left to lose it, right to find it" when trying to remember which way to turn my steering wheel as I back up my trailer. I'm sure I'll even be checking the mirrors, gauges and air pressure in my car tires since I'll have new habits that will be hard to break.

When starting this venture, I never thought I'd meet so many great guys trying to do the same thing as I am, nor did I think I'd meet someone who would be sharing with me the millions of miles of knowledge that travels around inside his head.


chez bez said...

Fantastic photo. I love how that came out.

My hotel is full of truckers who are competing Saturday at the Speedway. They are the coolest bunch of guests we have had since the tattoo festival.

Rock on!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful picture-and beautifully written...
I can just feel the miles of experience
ty for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

As usual, great pic!!

divacowgirl said... If that link doesn't work, on ebay item #210000044207. Never say I'm afraid to share a good bargain :).

Elevensest said...

Love the richness of the people you meet!
(comment re-created because I apparently did not properly save it the first time. Meh.)

Lisa M. said...

My Dad was like that. I have often wondered how many miles and miles he has driven and traveled. Millions. I suspect.

He used analagies like that as well and had a knack for teaching. Even as a small child I remember, watching from a window, a new driver of my Dad's. A co-worker came up behind me, and said ever so casually "You can sure tell which driver's Harvey taught". As I got older, I never forgot that. It made me smile with Pride.

I think it is incredbile that you are learning. I wish I was there in class with ya!

Hooray on the banana bread! Did it go over well?

What company do you plan to drive for? Or are you going to team travel with your Bo?

Thanks for teh beautiful picture, and Vthe very best to you..