“Wait For It”

Roger Clark
January 2022

As you may have noticed recently since 1950, we wait for a lot of things in this business. We wait for showers, permits, pickup numbers, and cash advances. We wait in line for fuel, then wait to pay for it. We wait in line to scale, then wait in line to pay for that, too. And if you have to reweigh, because there’s 36,000 on the drives….well, you know how that goes.

But before you even got there, you had to wait on the recruiters. You had to wait for orientation. You had to wait for your DOT physical, then wait 48 hours for the drug scan. I never worried about that part, because of knowing the results before they even handed me the cup. Yet waiting can be a troublesome thing, some days.

We wait to load, then wait to unload, even though the appointment was made in 1983. You don’t have to wait for a blowout, cave in, burnt bulb, or wiper fray, but you do stand in line for repairs. It can be 15 minutes at the TA in Lebo, Kansas, or 15 hours at the same place in Denver. Been there, done that.

Another form of waiting is on hold for dispatch, or maintenance, or safety, or payroll. Get caught with the phone in your hand and be fired before you can say WTF. Yet your dispatcher can let their phone ring till researchers raise the Titanic.

My Compliance department in Chicago knows within moments when I roll a stop sign in Oklahoma, leave a seatbelt unbuckled in Missouri, or hit a pothole in Kansas. But if I have an issue that requires stitches, extinguishers, or a badge with a gun, I’m lucky if I hear from anyone by Friday. They’ll say they were busy. Apparently, I wasn’t. 

But waiting isn’t all bad. It allows us to catch up on housework, paperwork, and minor repairs like engine overhauls. Downtime is a great time for taking a nap, doing a crossword, or convincing my wife to grease the flatbed. I’ve even completed three books this month, and that’s a lot of coloring!

Some things ARE worth waiting for. Graduation, grandchildren, and of course, the two most important days in a Harley owner’s life. (The day you bought it, and the day you sold it!). Marriage is worth waiting for, too. Just ask anyone who’s ever paid for a divorce.

 Some things are worth waiting a lifetime for. Your whole life. Things like drug addiction, alcoholism, cancer, and macular degeneration. Homelessness, estrangement, and Covid19 are all things we could live without, including the latest viral scare. It’s called the mid-term variant, in honor of the next election cycle. 

Another thing you could wait your whole life for is another YouTube video about trucking. Last time I checked, there were thirty-eight, and every single one started with the same, “What up, Dude?”. Every single one competed for the same dizzying weird camera angles. Every single one assured me that I could live like a king, eat like a horse, travel like a sultan, and shift gears like a pro. Many of these same Tube dudes unwittingly show you and me their unmade beds, creepy, sleepy co-drivers, and cluttered cab interiors.  

 I have news for every single one. I work like a horse, shift an autonomous automatic, come home to a castle, get served by a queen, and sleep like a baby. (And no, it’s not because I wake up every two hours crying for a bottle!)

Learning to do this job is simple. Work hard, go slow, pray often and—wait for it-- keep a low profile!