A day at the office
Hi, my name is Smokey Clutch, and I am a lousy truck driver. Holy shit, the lights not on! What are you fucking doing? That fucking light isn't on? What are you doing in my fucking trailer? Sorry about that.
I'm a lousy truck driver, not because I run over people or break things, but because I'm basically lazy. How lazy am I? Well, for starters, I'm not even typing this. Dweezil's taking dictation over my cell phone.
I'm currently at an engine plant, operated by one of the Big 3 automakers in southeast Michigan, and I'm sitting around getting paid for doing nothing. Well, at least most of the time. This job is great for a truck driver like me. I don't work for the Big 3, I don't work for the motor carrier that's hauling these engines for the Big 3, I work for a driver leasing company - think temp agency. You see, the forklift drivers here are so lazy that the owner-operators (real truckers) can't make any money doing this. So the invisible hand of capitalism has placed me, to sit here, while the lazy union dockworker makes up his mind whether to load the next rack of engines or continue having the lunch that he spent his entire lunch hour purchasing and now must eat, at some point.
The truck I drive is your low-end International day cab, which does not belong to any of the aforementioned companies but, is leased from yet another company. If you're not familiar with the trucks, think the Ford Escort of commercial vehicles. These things are basically the worn out whores of the truck world, and I've driven several of them of various vintages at the many shit jobs I've had. Anyway, it's the new style interior and at least this time around, they've at least moved the cupholder away from the gearshift so it doesn't dump your coffee in your lap when you hit third. The biological unit of this whole operation (me) is the same sort of just-in-time thrown-together "it'll do" ...
See, I never really learned how to drive a truck. My last job, before I entered the exciting world of commercial hauling, was as an under-the-table food delivery guy living in my parents house using the car my parents bought. Unfortunately impending fatherhood necessitated a change of lifestyle and a serious career. So I did what every white, Oakland County, multiple college dropout does in times like these. I begged Daddy for $6000 to go to truck driving school. Let me tell you, these guys are awesome. I chose the school on the criteria that it was the first truck driving school on the employment page and I didn't feel like making 2 phone calls. Plus the salesman sounded convincing. The good side is that $6000 buys you a CDL in Michigan. I could get your dog a commercial drivers license. The bad news is that I never really learned how to drive a truck. Most of the tuition that didn't go into the owner's pockets and the extensive recruiting and advertising budget, didn't go towards equpiment or training materials or anything like that. It went to the State-certified driving test administrator, a former employee of the school.
The last 5 years have, to say the least, been interesting and eye-opening. In that time, I've bounced between many jobs, driven dozens of trucks, through about 25 States, I've been to hundreds of docks, and spent countless hours just realizing how amazingly intricate and stupid the world around me really was. During this time I've collected the fuel for hours of mindless ranting. And these rants are too good to remain solely in the world of truck drivers.
As soon as I get around to pounding out another entry, I'll let you all in on just what the men and women go through who bring you everything, and I mean everything, you will ever buy.