I don’t want to be doom and gloom yet I can’t help it. Signs are revealing times are tough everywhere. I’ts in the air pouring through our media files in the TV, smart phones, and into the social postings. There are people out there proclaiming they know the answers. They know what’s best for us and I have to ask “do they?”
I get calls wanting an answer from me. There’s not a thing I can say. My abilities to speak hasn’t changed much and it’s not helping that my world is turned inside out. Mentioning that only increases then need for answers coming from me. How can I comply to their wishes when I just plain don’t know?
Maybe I should start from the beginning. Would that makes things clearer possibly sort itself out? Well I am going to chance it so bear along if you may attempt to keep up.
Okay a few months ago my unemployment was giving out. I applied everywhere. When I say everywhere it was literally and that’s what got me into this trouble. See when you are struggling to apply to places you qualify for, places begin to run out, fill out your little form gets harder to exchange for a pay check. My field as an assistant to interior designers is gone. Being an assistant narrows the odds, add interior puts the nail in your coffin. It gets worst when one isn’t bilingual like me.
I needed a job, I needed a check and my form needed lines filled in. Those lines little black stripes on a sheet of paper so hard to write in. Desperately I began applying to anything and everything. I even applied to become a phone sex operator. Thinking of that application I sigh how I followed up with phone calls. Why didn’t I qualify? Disgusting job really but it would have kept me home unlike what had actually paid off. That line that had to be filled in torments my days and nights.
Applications went out for stocking shelves, Wal Mart, Kmart, Saks’ Fifth Avenue, pizza driver, convenience store clerk and the one that hired me…a trucking company promising me all, money adventure and security. Red lights should have gone off, so many promises to my needs. This has been anything but any of the above. Money so bad I am losing everything including sanity.
But okay I am new to this profession and like other such careers one needs to pay their dues and when that happens your ships comes in. That’s all fine and dandy. I am not afraid of hard work. Well not of work but I am terrified of driving a rig. So many things can go wrong. Drivers tell stories that end with “and they didn’t even know it” Good grief they didn’t know it? This scares me.
I can’t quit. It took me a full year to land this job. If I do quit what happens to me? There’s no unemployment for me with this company. The last company paid so little EDD would charge me for cutting my checks. Yeah that little, less than two hundred dollars a week with them. My present company was paying, paying wonderfully that was until they decided they needed to hold one check back, making us get paid on the loads before. We were getting it all, foolishly I thought I could pay those months worth of debts. That lasted a whole month and a half- three pay checks in this truckers life.
Government shutdown hit hard. We haul meat and produce so no work for eight days. We rolled in after a week and half to receive a four hundred-dollar paycheck. I went six days without a shower, I drove hours without finding a rest stop or bathroom. I ate two dollar hot dogs and cans of soup out of funds. Truck sat in turn pikes waiting fuel money to get to the next load. Four hundred dollars didn’t pay my rent it didn’t pay for anything but auto insurance that by the way I don’t have anymore…no car.
Then we got a break a load with tons of miles. Victorville Ca to Orlando Florida and it even had reasonable time frames. My partner and I were excited. These miles would take care of the rent and moving out from the house. Why pay rent when you aren’t home? Secretly I want a home, I want to be home but that’s not the breaks given to me so I must be content with what I do have, a job.
We were to be in the yard by six that night having gotten in at one am. Not a real problem, we slept then went to the bank and ate a decent meal. The meal was better than it should be since we didn’t make rent. But we went over to the truck stop showered and ate anyways. I was hungry no home or cooking equipment we basically had no choice. We made it back by five pm, got a call load won’t be there until eight. Tired and worn out we got settled into the truck, my partner, my dogs having exercised them in the truck yard I was exhausted. I had driven to the full extent of the law getting into Victorville, needed rest.That was not to be. Next call requests that we drive up to Santa Maria to get the load.
Being a driver this is part of the job, right? Sure it is but t his outing cost us big time. Neither one of us got the sleep that was needed and now we must drive five hours pick up a truck, bring a driver back and the car we took to get that truck. Sleep wasn’t the only price we lost ten hours needed to make the appointment on time in Florida. I got out of the car and hopped into the truck and drove and drove.
Every minute that went by for forty-eight hours moved by the wheels of the truck. Out of California into Arizona trading off near New Mexico, he drove on into Texas. I took the seat on we rode into Louisiana, Mississippi over bridges into Alabama finally Florida where the truck broke down in a department of transportation truck scale. This is bad two hundred miles from final, exhausted, sick, thirsty, need a bathroom, need a shower and I am starved. Did I mention late?
I sacrificed my health to get a load of lettuce to Orlando on time and we can’t get there. My partner took over forcing the truck after a service didn’t get it quite right. Twelve hours to get two hundred miles then we sit on the side of a road waiting to unload. We sit and wait. Rush, sit and wait is what truck drivers do so we did. Waited nine hours reefer’s running out of fuel, I take straws and try to drop fuel from tractors tanks into the reefer. It works, temps stay at thirty-four degrees and it lasts until we pull in then it’s off. Less than five minutes and they want to refuse the load.
Well prayers do at times work they took the load. We pull out from the yard humming truck is running. We make the stop sign, no problems no stalling. We get to the main road didn’t make the signal so we wait. Engines humming just fine then the light turns green. Engine that sounded perfect dies.
An hour goes by we made three blocks. We are still hungry haven’t eaten, haven’t used a restroom since seven am, it’s six pm now, ran out of water, no drinks and no place to get anything. Three more hours we have made another mile and we are to get this truck to the repair shop. A motel is two miles away, repair shop four miles according to the GPS. Neither one of us have been to Orlando so we must trust the GPS knows the city.
In case you don’t know GPS are incredible liars. We were blocks from the repair shop needed, now we are miles from it. Story grows longer and longer and more unbelievable. We have been in Orlando two weeks. Part of it was spent at the Motel 6 another section right on International Drive sitting in a non-working truck which means no electrical to heat our last two cans of soup, using computers, charging cells or air conditioning, and having to use nearby gas stations to go potty. Then we walked close to a mile and half to find that the Motel Six requires crates for dogs. Being gone two days a lot changed.
Prayers work again they let us stay one night then we were back dragging our bags to the truck, towed to the dealer where we sat all day. We were there so long they forgot about me, my partner and my two dogs. We asked questions and they managed to have forgotten us long enough that they could not drive us to a motel. We walked with our bags down busy highways to a truck stop, mind you we both had no more funds of the four hundred we did have. My partner used his on motels, mine one hundred went to the insurance and rest went to food that is by the way very expensive in resort towns.
Truck stops had out advance from the owner. We needed a hotel and food. Sweating bullets we pressed on tummy’s growling we carried our bags and rolled the wheels over dirt gravel dodging vehicles but we made the truck stop by nine pm. We got cash and called a taxi. One motel promised we would not have to have a crate if we kept our promise to never leave the two dogs alone in the room. It was a deal easily made.
Now La Quinta Inn is our home it seems. been here a full week. It began as a two day stay, then three them five now it could be ending tomorrow. Do I believe that? Hard to say. Dealer said Friday at three pm by Monday. unless they are open which is doubtful don’t see Monday am.
In the meantime I have people who want answers from me. Am I keeping the home, when am I going to be home, where’s my money? Lasts one is for all three. A truck driver not driving doesn’t make a pay check. I’ve been stranded for two weeks, worked a little that was eaten up by being stranded and off eight days prior. Where’s the security promised in truck driving?
I can’t answer the questions, where, what and when. If I try it comes out a lie, it doesn’t happen. Like my partner he was to be in Las Vegas on the twenty-third for the birth of his grandson. Where was he? Here in Florida. It wasn’t intended to be that way. I was to be home with money to close the house down while he met his grandchild.
Money didn’t show up, I worked to make it but it wasn’t there, shortened by the eight day shut down. These miles to and from Florida would take care of my landlord, my stuff in storage so forth. Not one thing happened. Was it my fault? Must be I took the job didn’t I?
Did I have a choice? Possibly but it didn’t feel that way and ever since my life has been in short a living hell. A living hell I hate being so dreadful when so many people have it way worst than I. I must be grateful I have a roof sort of, eating, my partner with me and my two dogs. I don’t get to see my family, my son is pissed to say the least because my job caused chaos so maybe it’s not all bad in not seeing my family.
I’m stressed to the point that it’s hard to not cry twenty-four seven so I have been concentrating on my movie script. Trying to make it saleable. Can I do it? I am not sure anymore. How can I believe when everything I touch turns to poop? If I live in a house I love, I’m alone and broke. If I have someone at my side I lose my home. Why can’t I have a small portion of my dreams to come true? They stay way out of reach, once in a while I get a teaser. Like my three good size pay checks it ends all too soon.
But people want answers from me. What do I tell them when my mouth opens and it doesn’t come true? Isn’t it best to say nothing at all than to sell false hopes It hurts me deeply to let people down. This time of my life it’s been very painful, I’ve let a lot of people down.
But I must be grateful. I’ve been blessed with a partner and he’s doing pretty good. He’s handling this stress if I don’t notice how he’s slept the last three days and sat around in his underwear. Well that could be my fault I poured into my script with fever thinking that all of this mess could turn around on me. I could leave this job of truck driver and be a real live screenwriter(that I want) with a movie starring Steve Buscemi and Charlize Theron. A dream like that takes a miracle. While miracles do exist do they for me?
They do come in small ways like having this hotel room, my partner, not being fined at that DOT scale, my grand baby that I missed terribly is healthy. I did get to see my friend in Thousand Oaks for five minutes after an absence of six years from each other. That my friends is a true blessing, one that need to happen more often.
Way more often. A short time ago when I got those three healthy checks made plans to take another friend out for lunch, that was too much for my life because that is exactly the time my paycheck shrank by sixty percent. It was in the air my fate, to not be able to be with friends.
Over and over it goes and I am the one people want answers from. Why? Can try to answer them? I haven’t been able to converse in months and to this day I have nothing to say. Nothing anyone wants to hear at any rate.
So no I have no answers, I am so sorry for that; if I find them I will give my remarks in the meantime please try somewhere else.