We’re Not All Dirt Bags
This is a response to the letter by Chris Zondlo in the January 2009 issue of Truckers News. He basically called anyone who ever failed to use a urinal when needed a “dirt bag.”
Mr. Zondlo, while I understand your anger and frustration and indeed share your feelings, I thought it necessary to point out an option that many of us use that does not involve getting up (if asleep), getting dressed, going into the truckstop and using the facility, followed by reversing the trek. It is utilization of a portable container (yes, sometimes a simple bottle) and then disposing of it properly.
I have done this for the 10 years I’ve driven. I keep them contained securely until I shower, then dispose of the contents and the containers properly. No one else has to handle them directly. I do not feel this puts me in the “dirt bag” category. Is it ideal? Certainly not, but it beats getting out in the cold or exposing yourself to other potential dangers the truckstop can harbor in the middle of the night.
The rest of the accusations? Couldn’t agree more! I had a guy pull up next to me one evening. We were in the first row, no more than a 30-yard walk to the building entrance. He steps out of his rig, steps between my tractor and trailer, relieves himself, then walks into the truckstop. I had a good mind to fire up my truck while he was doing his business.
Truckers whine and moan when they find they can no longer park at a once-friendly Wal-Mart or other shopping center. Look in the mirror, drivers – we are our own worst enemy.
Acting the Part
I am lucky enough to live in Oklahoma where we have probably the best driving school in the country; I am talking about Central Tech in Drumright. It is really a very nice facility, from the classrooms to the driving range, everything organized and clean. And the trucks – just about the best, all well-maintained and clean. My instructor, Mr. Gary Olinhouse, is one of the most experienced drivers ever; he was a professional driver and now is an instructor.
The four weeks I spent at the school were very enjoyable and pleasant. All my classmates were nice people, and the staff, well, they were just the best. Almost six years now have passed, and I still remember and think about it. Most important, I am still practicing what I learned, and here are my thoughts:
I saw a driver one time who had four cats in the truck; one was sitting on his shoulder, another one was on his arm and the other two were jumping on the dash blocking the driver’s view of the road. And I thought to myself, how is that possible?
I am a professional driver:
·I don’t ever tailgate either big trucks or four-wheelers.
·I am always courteous to other drivers, no matter what they drive.
·I am always on the lookout for motorcycles.
·I don’t use foul language when using the CB radio.
·I don’t drive in packs and always leave enough room between vehicles.
·I always observe the speed limit and slow down in road construction zones.
·I always slow down or move over when trucks or emergency vehicles are parked on the shoulder.
·I care for my vehicle and always keep it nice and clean, no clutter on the dash.
·I don’t carry pets with me because they can be a distraction.
·I never eat or use the cell phone when driving.
·I always dress clean and shower every day.
·I treat my customers with courtesy and respect.
·I always check my tires and look around my entire rig in case something’s wrong.
·I only park at fuel islands when I am getting fuel and move my truck as soon as I am done.
·I always treat other drivers the way I want to be treated.
·I never litter and always put my trash where it belongs, in a trash can.
·I don’t cheat on my log books and always keep all my paperwork organized.
·I don’t run over curbs or turn around in places I’m not supposed to.
·I always use my turn signals.
·I always use the safety signals when broke down or parked on the road.
·I say no to road rage – it is dangerous and stupid.
·I don’t use drugs.
·I always use the seatbelts.
Frank “The Tank” Zepeda
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