Long-haul literary: Former owner-operator’s memoir of the life
“What are you going to do about it?” The voice came out of the sleeper and I knew that if I turned around the speaker would be sitting on the bunk, one of those punks from fifth grade, grown up and looking for a rematch.
I said, “Get out.”
Then I was yelling, “Get out!”
Then I was screaming, “Get out! Get out! Get out!”
“Deal with it,” said another voice. “Now or never.”…
Driving, always driving. I relived the times I understood nothing. The times experience taught me nothing. The time I looked in a mirror and saw … nothing.
I was in over my head.
I wasn’t paying attention.
I had a lot of catching up to do.
Maybe I would start by bringing the truth in a little closer. Maybe I would start by talking to the trucker in the mirror, asking questions and listening to his answers. Our conversations took place day and night and I’d come home from the road and Gayle would say, “You look tired,” and I would answer, “I feel like I’m working two jobs.” I was in process and the past was in motion. I thought of it as psychological warfare, and I had time for the fight, all the time I’d ever need. I just had to drive a truck and be myself — as soon as I found out who that was.
It took two years, some 240,000 miles, and I don’t know how many sleepless nights.
Early one morning at a truck stop in Portland, Ore.
A well-rested driver — he’d been sleeping a lot better lately — smiled back from a shower-room mirror. He was neither handsome nor ugly, inside or out. I liked him. I knew him fairly well. I could read between the lines on his face. He said, “The answer, as you now know, is that you have to find your own answers, learn every lesson, and keep rolling. We all make mistakes. We all have regrets. You can’t change the past. You have to believe in yourself. Henry Ford was right.”…