‘Trucker addiction’: The love/hate relationship to the business

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Well, we got our baby back from Pittsburgh Power and are actually back at it again. It’s been two months of constant struggle – between the surgery for kidney stones George had to have and an in-frame rebuild the baby needed, we’ve been down long enough to be eating peanut butter sammiches for a couple weeks. Don’t get me wrong, we’re happy as hell to have peanut butter, but desperation kind of seeps in through the stale bread sometimes, and when the truck is down, life seems pretty bleak.

This is a phenomenon I like to call “Trucker Addiction.” Hi, my name is Wendy and I’m addicted to being on the road. Worse than that, my husband supports my addiction and is my biggest enabler.

We’re both resourceful people, and George can pretty much do anything. It wouldn’t be hard for either of us to walk away from the trucking life and get other jobs. I keep my nursing license current, and George can drive anything, so it wouldn’t take long for us to get day jobs and be home every night. Every single person reading this that isn’t involved in the trucking industry (Hi, Mom!) is thinking, “Then why the hell don’t those idiots get day jobs?” Every single person who has Trucker Addiction shudders at the thought, and feels the same way we do about it. It’s terrifying to consider never getting into the cab of the Precious again, and it sends me into a state of mourning I can’t explain to normal folks.

I literally burst into tears the first time she fired up after the rebuild. I actually sobbed. I don’t have to tell you how beautiful the engine sounded – it was better than butter. Again, the people who understand my addiction thought that was sweet, the people who don’t thought I had finally had a profound psychological break, induced by a steady diet of cheap peanut butter.

Clayton Mallinson of Pittsburgh Power with the (happy) ParkersClayton Mallinson of Pittsburgh Power with the (happy) Parkers

It’s funny how awesome something is in your mind when you haven’t done it in a while. All I could think about was getting back out, and all the unpleasant things about the road were shoved to the back of my mind, until we pulled into the Love’s for fuel. (Side note: I’d like for the designers of truck stops, specifically Love’s, to understand that more than one truck pulls into the lot at a time and they need more than three feet to maneuver – thankyouverymuch.)

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The pump lanes were full and the DEF tanks were empty. It was a cluster of mad, tired truckers, sprinkled with the occasional jerkalope who threatened to shoot everyone over the CB. (Second side note: Shut up, jerk. You’re not making things better.) It took 25 minutes just to get to the pump and by then I had heard about every insult you can think of over the airwaves. I thought, “Well here I am, right back in paradise.”

I stayed in the truck while George got out and fueled. I had no desire to immerse myself in a nest of angry people. He fired it up and pulled forward to go in for his fuel receipt, and as he was walking in, a guy with a thick Russian accent stopped him to ask about the truck. (Third side note: for some weird reason, the Russian drivers are obsessed with our truck.)

“Hey buddy! That’s a beauty truck! What kind of motor does it have?”

“I just picked her up from a rebuild at Pittsburgh Power – she’s a Detroit 60.”

The Russian guy’s face lit up.

“Oh yes. Yes, it’s a good one, yes. Pittsburgh Power!” He gave a double thumbs-up and continued. “That’s what I’m talking about, yes? Good luck, friend!”

Yes, friend. Indeed, that’s what I’m talking about. Double thumbs-up for the trucking life, scabs and all.