Never mind the thought of your beau rambling in a big rig through a tornado zone or the fear that truck-stop hookers, known as “lot lizards, ” will be swarming around him like maggots. The worst part about being a truck driver’s so-called widow is having Willie Nelson constantly run through your head.
“On the road again ….”
This trucker gig is a new thing for my beau since his old career hit a roadblock. Like funeral directors and garbage collectors, truckers will always be in demand. Stats show the demand for commercial truckers is up 20 percent, with more than 230,000 trucking jobs listed in the first three months of 2013 alone.
People want stuff fresh. They want stuff now. And they want stuff that has to be hauled from Oklahoma City to Jersey City or Salt Lake City to Kalamazoo.
My guy is now one of the guys that gets it there, although he never has a clue about what he and his partner are hauling—or what load will be up next and exactly when.
This makes for a very confusing U.S. map that I tried to mark with little arrow-shaped Post-it notes. It also makes for a very long-distance relationship. But it makes perfect sense that my guy, or any guy, would choose a commercial trucking career.
After all, I did ask three members of the male species at random if they ever considered trucking. All said yes. That’s because the job has a certain allure, especially for men. The thrill of driving a big truck. The romance of the road. The promise of adventure. The fact they no longer have to help empty the dishwasher.
The huge demand for truckers played a part in my beau’s decision, as did the fact that most folks don’t have tons of options when they’re re-careering after a lengthy gig in another field.
Tucson has a handful of trucker training programs, which makes the choice even easier. We discussed it at length, and he was soon trained, licensed and on the road.
That’s when all hell broke loose in my head. The stages of being in love with a road-bound trucker loosely follow some of the stages of grief, although a few extra stages seemed to have shimmied in.
First comes the glee. A new career! A beau excited about his new career! A chance for him to see the nation and pull that trucker-horn thing! This stage lasts about half a day, or until you realize you’re not the one who gets to see the nation but are instead the one stuck in Tucson emptying the dishwasher by yourself.
Then comes the anger. Unless you’re a fan of broken dishes, it’s best to leave the dishwasher alone during this stage. You’re much too busy being mad, anyway. You’re mad at your beau for “abandoning” you, mad at your house because it suddenly got big, lonely and extremely messy. Heck, you even get mad at the world because if everyone weren’t so greedy and materialistic, your guy wouldn’t have to be out delivering stuff to Jersey City or Kalamazoo.
Depression is up next. Your house gets even messier because you just don’t have the wherewithal to clean it, alas, all by yourself. You sulk around the backyard and have a few of those melodramatic “woe is me” scenes in the kitchen. One of your dogs actually hides from you when you get like this. The other tries to comfort you by butting your head with her rock-hard skull. In either case, it hurts.
You begin to cry and moan to anyone who will listen about how sad and lonely you are. While they first comfort you with hugs, you can see they’re getting annoyed with your ongoing sob saga and start giving you tidbits of advice. “Maybe you should try getting out of the house once in a while.”
Acceptance finally starts to creep in. You decide to check out this mysterious “getting out of the house” thing, since working from home all day and then staying at home all evening turns you into a nutcase.
You try to go to at least one place every day. You work on projects that were long on hold. You even become OK with emptying the dishwasher solo. You accept that he’s on the road and you’ll have to adapt to thrive. The only thing you refuse to accept is that dang Willie Nelson in your head.
This column originally appeared in the 06.13.13 issue of the Tucson Weekly.