I woke up to discover that the internet was wrong, and I had to correct it; so I got off to a late start this morning. I want to stick to my goal of writing 750 words every morning, and I don’t want to let myself fall short of such an easy target …
Head phones: on.
The Doors, LA Woman: play.
Yesterday in THE TRIGGER WARNING #13, I started a hitch-hiking story from my truck driving days, and left off with me climbing into the cab of a 1983 Freight Liner hauling a reefer full of vegetables from Washington state to The Twin Cities.
It’s a true story that takes the natural arc of a roller coaster ride; pay the ticket, get locked into your seat, and slowly climb up to the top of the slide before … Helter Skelter !
There were many times I thought for sure I was going to die during my stint in the truck driving sub culture. And all but one of those times, it was a catastrophic event that unfolded slowly, predictably, and with absolute certainty. In all but one of those times, I found myself trapped inside the cab of a truck, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, but witness the end of my existence.
I reacted differently each time. Each time I felt the Grim Reaper reaching out for me, I used different approaches to negotiating my annihilation.
I’m not a Christian, – don’t believe in “God” as such, but have I cried out to, “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” ???
Yes I have.
Have I, at the moment I realized death was imminent, – screamed like Fred Flintstone going off a cliff; softly and quietly at first, then louder and louder, until with every fiber of my being I wailed at the top of my lungs for minutes on end?
Yes, I have.
One time it all happened at once and was over before I knew what the hell was even happening. That day started out in Dallas. It was my habit to wake up, get out of the cab, check the tires, and do a short 2o minute session of Tai Chi before climbing back into the cab and running down the road.
Of course, if I was at a truck stop I would go inside, brush my teeth, and grab a giant cup of coffee before heading out; but on this particular morning I had spent the night in an empty lot of an industrial part of Dallas know as “Harry Heinz”.
But this particularly cold and windy Dallas morning, I was up and at ’em without my coffee; which I would get later, – after the sun came up and I was clear of city traffic.
It was about 3:30 am
I was winding my through a series of freeway exits and entrances, and was just getting up to speed when I flipped my CB radio on … There was panic on the radio.
“Stop! Slow Down! Black Ice Driver! Black Ice”!
I was coming around the curve of the freeway entrance, and looked up from the blinking radio to see flood lights, flares, Highway Patrol cars flashing, – and two or three rigs layed-out on their sides. Tow Truck drivers were frantically waving their arms.
I felt it before I saw it, and when I saw it … it was too late. There, in my rear view mirror, was my trailer, – fish tailing back and forth a little before it would inevitably jack knife, and leave me wrecked on the side of the road like the three drivers before me …
The wisdom of a thousand old truck drivers rang through my head, “once you see that trailer in your mirror, – there is nothing you can do”.
I didn’t scream, and I didn’t call out to Jesus. “I” didn’t “do” anything really. My arms and legs did though …
Seemingly on their own, my palms began slapping the wheel, steering and counter steering, and shifting into neutral as I slide sideways onto the six lane freeway; past the slack jawed, disbelieving, horrified faces of the State Troopers, and then – miraculously, my rig shimmied and shook it’s way straight. Before I even knew what had happened, I was rolling down the road like nothing had happened. …
[low battery – gotta go]