Normal called … not really

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Updated Jan 15, 2015

I have a good friend who went out on the truck with her boyfriend as a rider for the first time last weekend. I got a steady stream of “WTF?” texts – she quickly reminded me that there’s really no “normal” on the road.

“Quick question on shower – drying hair in there cool? I don’t mind walking out with no makeup, but wet hair? What’s normal?”

“Well, in some places, it’s normal to carry a skunk around in your purse, so I’d suggest you go with whatever you’re comfortable with. I try to be done with everything and out of the shower in 45 minutes, but if there’s a lot of people waiting, I’m in and out – wet hair and no skunk.”

“???skunk…I’ll ask later.”

And so it went for four days, she being amazed and me being reminded that life on the road is pretty incredible. It stopped being foreign and weird when I stopped trying to understand why a giant, bald trucker with the hairiest arms and legs I’ve ever seen would choose to step out of the truck in his prettiest Sunday-go-to-meeting dress, or why they knit sweaters for the trees in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Who the heck knows? You’ll drive yourself crazy trying to understand, it’s best just to take it all in for a minute and go on down to the next stop.

Knit knot tree, US 68, Yellow Springs, OhioKnit knot tree, US 68, Yellow Springs, Ohio

Life on the road is a colorful quilt of people, places and experiences. Everything is different from inside the cab of a big truck, and it’s completely amazing how hard it is on the body to ride in one all day.

“Day 2, baby! And sweet mother of all who sit behind a desk, my arms, legs, and back are killing me. A handful of Aleve and a cup of coffee and I should be good to go.”

She caught on quick.

“It’s cold and he keeps sweating through his shirts/jackets.”

Truckers work hard. (Her trucker is a flatbedder – they really do work hard.)

“My attitude of ‘he’s just driving’ is gone.”

Mine too.

It’s not Smokey and the Bandit out there, it’s not fun and games, it’s a difficult profession with a lot of nice perks – travel, seeing the country from the ground, meeting people in truck stop parking lots who think they’re Jesus. You know, stuff you’d never run into being a WalMart greeter in Albuquerque, N.M… OK, scratch the Jesus part, but the travel is great – especially if you don’t have to do the driving.

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I’d strongly suggest anyone who has the opportunity to ride along for a few days do so. You might like it, and you might hate it, but I can assure you, you’ll never forget it.

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