Sometimes, being able to come home to sleep every other night isn’t as neat as it sounds. Sometimes, you spend the 15 hours listening to whiny-ass people cry about how awful your truck is, and how horrifying it is that you actually have to park it somewhere to get some rest.
How dare you, you filthy trucker?
We have a compounded problem with parking at home. It begins with the fact that our neighbor, who definitely doesn’t eat rat poison or hate truckers, feels the need to call the law on George when he brings his truck to the house. We have a shared driveway, and even though we have easement rights to the driveway for farm equipment, the neighbor insists that he doesn’t want the truck on the driveway, and pitches a hissy fit when it’s even mentioned. It doesn’t help that the law tells us, “We don’t want to see your court documents — those are for court. This is a civil matter, take it to court.”
So basically, they’re telling us we have to go to court every time he wants to park the truck in front of our house – which is on a farm, and far away from the delicate psyche of the residents of Mad River Township, who are mortally offended enough by big trucks to have enacted a parking ban for all commercial vehicles in their fair and bucolic township, thus rendering the space he got permission to use from the local drug store unlawful, and sending him on yet another search for parking at home.
Here’s the difference between three years ago me and now me: I’m not even mad.
I actually get it, I really do. Truckers are their own worst enemies sometimes, and I get why they don’t want the trucks in their township. What I don’t get is why someone doesn’t see the huge opportunity for revenue and set aside a lot down by I-70 – which happens to have 20,000 trucks a day sailing up and down it, right smack in the middle of the township. These drivers are begging for parking in that corridor – there’s one rest area between Dayton and London, and it’s packed full 24/7. There is a desperate need, and what better way to keep the trucks out than set them a spot aside, away from your residential area?
My first instinct was, of course, to go nuclear and destroy the entire board of trustees by giving every trucking page on Facebook their email and phone numbers and telling them they hate truckers, but I’ve mellowed a little in my old age and fatness, so I called the trustees instead, and opened a line of communication with them, and as it turns out, they’re very sympathetic.
Trustee Catanzaro related stories to me about driving his family produce trucks down to Georgia and back, and trying to stop for just a quick nap in a parking lot. He said, “I’d just doze off and a billy club would hit the side of the truck. Bam! Wake up and move, boy!” I think this guy really understands, and he’s willing to help us look for solutions, which are always more effective than bans on anything.
So on August 17, at 7:30, I’m going to speak at the Mad River Township public meeting, in an attempt to educate the general public on some of the constraints the trucking industry is under regarding hours of service and parking issues. I’m going to remain cordial and open to suggestions, because that’s what grown-ups do, and if I preach it I’ve got to live it. I’m going to stress that we want to remain lawful, and we don’t want them to lift their parking ban, but rather, offer alternatives – even if we have to pay for them – that’s not an issue. No one should expect these small communities to offer free services. Better yet, they should be led to understand the vast amounts of money spent in the industry, and encouraged to get their piece of it.
Here’s irony for you — there’s no truck parking available at the “public” meeting. So, for all intents and purposes, it’s not an entirely public meeting, it’s a meeting open to those who have vehicles deemed appropriate to convey them to the meeting in, but that’s just another point to bring up at the meeting.
We’ll attempt to Periscope the event; it should be entirely legal to publicly broadcast a public meeting, but I don’t want to upset anyone, so if they don’t want me to I’ll be respectful of their wishes.
Until then, I’ll be sitting in the corner, rocking, and eating Zantac by the handful, because I really hate to speak in public. It’s a lot different to write a story. I have an editor and a backspace button – two things my brain may need to develop a little more before talking to real live human beings.
Sometimes, trucking is hard.