Sometimes when we’re on the road, I ask myself just why in the heck we do this. The thought is usually most prevalent when George shows up on time for a scheduled appointment and is told he has to wait to be unloaded. Isn’t that the point of scheduling things? I don’t really get why someone would tell you to show up at a certain time, and then make you wait forever and a day to accomplish whatever it is you’re doing. In the immortal words of Pete from Oh Brother Where Art Thou, “That don’t make no sense.”
Being in Louisville for the truck show this week has once again rejuvenated my spirit, and I remember why we do what we do. We’ve listened to several speakers, but I think Todd Spencer from OOIDA summed it all up when he said, “We need to be proud of what we do.” You can feel the pride on the showroom floor, and you can sure see it in the show trucks. There’s a lot to be proud of, and there’s a lot of work yet to be done.
I looked around the room at the Shell Rotella cocktail party Thursday night, and I not only remembered why we do what we do, I realized how very fortunate we are to do it. I also realized that Shell throws a great party, and cucumber cosmopolitans are simultaneously delicious and dangerous. And here’s something else I learned – Secret Service guys really do talk into their sleeve.
(Wait. What? Wasn’t she just talking about a truck show? How did we get to the Secret Service?)
The answer is, it’s a truck show. And you just never know who you’re going to meet at one. As I was sitting at the bar with Meredith Ochs, trying really hard to be cool, because I’m a huge fan, I noticed a sudden proliferation of clean-cut gentlemen in suits entering. That’s not so weird — the weird part was they didn’t sit down or order drinks, and they all had ear pieces. Then the black SUVs showed up, and more guys with ear pieces appeared, and I thought, “Well, this is it. The FMCSA finally got tired of me poking them and they’ve sent the goons to get me. At least I’ll die sitting beside Meredith Ochs.”
Obviously, that wasn’t what they were there for. Shell Rotella had Patrick J. Murphy, Secretary of the Army, as their guest speaker at the party, and his crew was checking things out ahead of time.
Mr. Murphy arrived later, and gave a very moving speech about the efforts that are being made to transition military personnel to the trucking industry when they are done serving. The guy is a great speaker, and it’s incredibly evident he’s committed to helping the veterans as much as possible. His body guards are really nice, too, especially when you get your hair caught on a coat hook and almost rip your own head off walking to the bathroom. Because I’m cool like that.
I sent a text to a friend of mine saying, “I had a drink with Meredith Ochs. Larry Koester is sitting behind me. Tony Justice just walked in. And I just met the Secretary of the Army.” She replied, “Where the hell are you?”
I’m at the truck show, y’all. Come on out – you never know who you’ll meet.