Parking: Notes on circling sharks
I want everyone who doesn’t drive for a living to imagine this: You’ve been on shift for 13 hours. You spent 11 of those hours dodging idiots in traffic with somewhere around 80,000 pounds surrounding your vital organs while traveling at a high rate of speed. You’re tired and all you want to do is fall in bed and sleep, but guess what? You can’t because there’s nowhere to park the 80,000 pounds of stuff you’re responsible for, so you spend another hour circling parking lots until you can find a place to stow yourself and sleep. Sound horrible? It is.
Parking is definitely an issue in our lives. I tease my husband because at about 2 o’clock every afternoon he starts fretting about being able to park for our break, which is usually at least six hours away. If he doesn’t say something, I usually do.
“Uh oh. It’s two-thirty. You think we’ll be able to park?”
“Well, I was thinking about that. We’ve got six hours, we can make Tulsa, but I was thinking about … oh hell, you were kidding.”
“I don’t know why you worry about it so much, we always find a parking space. I’ve personally seen you put this truck in some incredible spots.”
“I get lucky a lot.”
That’s not true, he’s got a talent for backing a trailer into absolutely crazy spots, so even when the lot is full we can usually make the last spot — everyone knows that spot, it’s the one people try to get in over and over again, the one with a completely horrible angle, usually because some jerk is parked outside of a marked spot. This is sport in the lots. Other truckers will get on the CB and either cheer the attempting driver on or tell them what a dumbass they are. Sometimes you get an old-timer who wants to tell a story.
“Hell son, back in the day they weren’t no lights in the lots, we did this in the dark haulin’ hay stacked so high when the wind come, you just let the wheel go and float right on in to ya’ spot.”
A parking lot at a truck stop is no place to be fooling around. We were cruising a lot in Oklahoma, it was completely packed and there was a truck illegally parked blocking two other spaces. From the talk on the radio, I was afraid people were going to drag this guy out of his truck and lynch him. When I realized he was blocking two good spots, I wanted to lynch him. It was late, people were tired and their sparkling personalities were failing. There is definitely an etiquette to be followed at truck stops, and fewer people are using it these days.
I think each trucking school should have a rule book on how to act right. We’ll title it “How to be Considerate to Other Drivers” and make it like the “Dick and Jane” books. You can help me write it. The first page will have a big picture of Dick at a fuel island, and it’ll say, “See Dick fuel. Fuel Dick, fuel! Do it fast, Dick, because Sally and Jane are waiting behind you for their turn to fuel. You’re not the only person using this fuel island, Dick, so don’t be a dick!” Any ideas for the second page?