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I Just Hauled A Load of What Across Country?

November 16, 2010
No Diet 4 Me
A few years ago, I was a truck driver. After a while, I became an instructor and taught others how to do that. Most people had no idea of what to expect and part of my task was to prepare them for the actualities of life as a truck driver.

One lesson which I had a little trouble getting over to them about truck driving, which many imagined to be a romantic existence was summed up in a comment I made. "Truck driving is 95% boredom and 5% stark terror."

Don't believe me? Try driving back and forth across country day after day and then suddenly having an out-of-control vehicle hurtling at you at a high rate of speed, or crossing Donner Pass or Snoqualmie Pass at midnight in the midst of a massive snow storm. Or, better yet, having an out-of-control truck sliding at you in a snow storm on Donner!

I am always looking for lessons from life, and even the boring parts had hidden truths.

Like the time I picked up a load from a Kimberley Clark facility in Paris, Texas.

I ran a lot of KC loads. I liked them. They were straightforward. Easy drop-and-hook. Quick turnaround. Long runs. Basic cargo.

In fact, KC loads were so basic that I never really checked the paperwork like I should have. It was always going to be toilet paper, Huggies, Depends, stuff like that. Sometimes raw material, but never anything questionable, dangerous, or illegal.

So, there I was running from Paris, Texas to Ogden, Utah.

I loved that run. Take US84 west out of Paris to US287 north of Fort Worth. Shoot up to Amarillo and pick up I-40 til you got to Gallup, New Mexico and then head north up through Shiprock (ever read Tony Hiller mysteries?), and take a break at the West Winds truck stop in Green River, Utah. Run west on I-70 for a few miles and then grab US 6, which has been called the most dangerous road in the U.S. and climb up to Spanish Fork where you pick up I-15 for the final run north to Ogden. Exit to Rulon White Boulevard, and finish off at the Kimberley Clark facility for another easy drop-and-hook.

Winter was really great, because you could start hot down in Texas and be freezing by the time you got to Ogden. Water oozing out of the rock walls in Utah would have turned to ice. Sometimes the water had leaked across the road and left a layer of ice there as well. Fun on those winding back roads alongside the cliffs.

Fun, I tell you!

Anyway, on this one run, I took a look at the bills of lading for some strange reason. Maybe I thought the DOT (Department of Transportation) guy at the scales in Cortez, Colorado, up in the Four Corners area might ask me about my load.

There was where it got a little less boring.

According to the bill of lading, I was carrying a 53-foot trailer full of...wait for it...and I quote..."used diapers".

Okay, I was curious all the rest of the way, I tell you!!

By the time I pulled into the KC facility in Ogden, I had to know. So, as casually as I could, I asked the gate guard, "I...er...well, I noticed...it seems to say that... Hell, what do they mean 'used diapers'?"

Apparently, she had been asked before.

"Those are seconds. Something went wrong in the manufacturing, so they were shredded and sent back here as raw material."

Okay, now I knew.

They say you can't judge a book by its cover. Apparently, you can't always tell a truckload of stuff by the bill of lading, either.

From the days of Socrates, and probably before, wise men, and women, have gotten it. Unless you understood what the other person actually meant when they made a statement or used a word, it would be easy to misunderstand the true meaning of what was actually being said...or intended to be said. Over the ages, the intelligent and the not-so-intelligent have known that two people could look each other in the eye, say essentially the same thing, and go away angry because each did not see the same meaning in the words as the other.

"If you wish to converse with me," said Voltaire, "define your terms."

Can you imagine if that DOT guy in Cortez HAD wanted to know what I was carrying? I could have wound up in jail!

It would almost be like a Republican servant of the people trying to understand a Democratic servant of the people, don't ya think?

Really, out of the boredom came a few brief moments of excitement and the lesson that you just can't take everything at face value. Also, it helps to know what people "really" mean when they say what they say, and not assume that you already know just because you have some particular way of defining a particular term.

We tend to assume that people think about things the same way that we do. However, sometimes they may have an entirely different take on some particular subject...or just a weird sense of humor. Maybe even they seem to wind up at the same destination that we do, but just have a different map.

After all, I could have just taken I-40 to I-25 at Albuquerque, north to I-70 then over to I-15 and run straight up to Ogden, but where's the fun in that?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Donovan Baldwin is a 65-year-old accountant, amateur bodybuilder, freelance writer, certified optician, and Internet marketer currently living in the Atlanta, Gerogia area. A University Of West Florida alumnus (1973) with a BA in accounting, he has been a member of Mensa and has been a Program Accountant for the Florida State Department of Education, the Business Manager of a community mental health center, and a multi-county Fiscal Consultant for an educational field office. He has also been a trainer for a major international corporation, and has managed various small businesses, including his own. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, with 21 years of service, he became interested in Internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes original articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He has posted a series of articles on The Law of Attraction , and other self-improvement issues at xtramoney4me.net/internetmarketing/reviews/law_of_attraction_articles/ .
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Donovan Baldwin is a freelance writer currently living in the Dallas - Fort Worth area. He is a University Of West Florida alumnus (1973) with a BA in accounting. He is a past member of Mensa and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and has held several managerial positions while in the military and in civilian life. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in Internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He has a website on health, fitness, diet, and weight loss at http://www.nodiet4me.com/ .

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