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Friday, January 12, 2007

Cursed or Blessed?

Two things have prompted these thoughts. First, I was chatting with Chris Mikesell the other day and we were talking about music. Chris isn't much of a country music fan, but I ran across one of my all time favorite songs, C.W. McCall's Convoy.

Didja know I was a truck driver? Here's me the first time I hit 65mph in the big truck.

That song brought back my memories of a steamy Texas night 'round about 1996. I was in my reefer with the hammer down passing anyone in my way. We leased our truck to Prime back then and our truck wasn't goverened--meaning we could go as fast. Next thing I knew, there were four or five trucks behind me. I didn't have the CB on, I was just cruising along doing about 70mph listening to a book on tape. I looked in the side mirror a few minutes later and noticed that I had about ten trucks behind me so I turned on my CB.

"Breaker one-nine"

"You got your break beautiful, go ahead."

"What's going on with these trucks?"

"Prime's got our front door and looks like we got ourselves a convoy, but the driver don't have his radio on."

"Oh really?" I said with a toothy grin. "What wouldja say if I told you I'm Prime?"

"I'll be dipped in tar and rolled in feathers boys, we got us a sweetheart leading our little ol'convoy tonight. Which one-a-you gonna catch her?"

Another driver keyed up the mic, "Hammer down Mrs. Prime, we got your back door. Hammer down beautiful."

So I fumbled around in the dark cab of my Freightliner and I found Phil's C.W. McCall tape. I turned it up and said, "Are you ready boys?" then I played the song over the CB. By the time the song was over, I swear, there must have been thirty trucks behind.

Drivers were a'hootin' and a'hollerin' and I heard one driver say, "Damn. I'm gonna have to back down. Mrs. Prime up there's got more than this old truck can handle."

I looked down at my dash. 125.



The other thing that brought me to this is Mark Bertrand's post at Master's Artist today. He was talking about paying attention to other people to get ideas for stories.

Phil tells everyone that I could talk to a brick wall for hours and be ok with it. I'd like it better if the wall answered, but it'll do in a pinch. I always used to think it was curse that the cashier would break down crying while I was paying, telling me about her mother with cancer. Or the old man in the truck stop who kept telling me about his wife that died. Most of my life, I've been on information overload. People always flocking to me, telling me their stories. My husband keeps telling me to quit looking people in the eye. He said they'd quit talking if I quit lookin'em in the eyes.

Everyone's got a story and they all want desparately to tell someone. All you have to do is open your eyes. Then you'll be out in that hammer lane and it don't matter that the coops are filled with bears.

Free surprise to the first non-trucker to tell me what that last sentence means.

6 comments:

Heather said...

I missed about half of the conversation. Some foreign language I never studied.

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Oh I laughed through the whole thing. It's a great post, Mich. I'll talk to a brick wall, or myself, pretty much the same thing most days.

And as to the last sentence... hmm, bears are cops, the hammer lane is the fast lane I think, so coops are truck stops I'm guessing. Or maybe weigh stations. DK.

Michelle Pendergrass said...

Jen is the winner! :)

I thought about maybe sending you stuff from Mike's desk, but what fun is that?

You'll get your fun stuff in the mail soon.

Erin said...

WOW!
My hubby and I used to dream about being truck drivers and seeing the US. Never followed up on it, then had 3 kids and had to switch that dream to seeing the US from an RV. ;)

Still haven't done that yet either.

So fun to read about a girl that HAS.

Mary said...

This was a hilarious post! I loved it...and am so thrilled to see I can post here now! I'll have to use my blogger identity, not my current blog, but that's okay!

Love your way with words...

Oh, and I wanted to comment on your woodchopping...my dh used the hydraulics off a junk trash truck bed to make us our own hydraulic wood splitter. It works great! Course, we got that all figured out exactly one winter before we switched to burning alternatives such as corn and the like...

Robin said...

#1) How much do I love that "eyes" are a consistent theme between today's post and how you've been (apparently) all your life? Seems to me, our eyes can either draw others in, or reject them in a sense. You fall into the first camp :).

#2) Thank goodness I got the gist of what you were saying contextually...not only were you a truck driver, you were one bad mamajama truck driver...lead dog! Love it!

#3) If you've got more stories to tell, those would make fun posts (Did you always travel with a dog? Was it difficult working in a male-dominated vocation? I'm thinking truckstop showers here... etc.)