Somewhere along the interstate I discovered myself. I had been struggling along life’s highway for most of my life, never asking questions, never asking for opinions, just plain never asking. So I find myself driving miles after miles wondering what the hell I am doing. I mean really what possessed me to become a truck driver after all these years.
I most have driven my recruiter crazy. I called and asked a few questions applied was accepted, Manny my recruiter was ready to put me on the next bus out-of-town. Slow down I told him I hadn’t made up my mind yet. Needed to think…..
Called my brother the truck driver and told him what I was thinking, he was very excited for me. Gave me even more to think about and more questions for Manny. This went on for weeks. Finally I made the decision, I was in a very bad relationship either put on my hiking boots and hike the Appalachian trial or become a truck driver. I was that desperate to get out.
I get on a bus from Orlando, FL to Birmingham, AL. The trip takes 18 hours. I get to Birmingham and call the number my recruiter gave me. I wait till a shuttle comes and picks me up. I am so very tired what a long trip at the motel I find I am sharing a room with a smoker ugh!! And she is loud and bossy, crass and just plain gross. Use your imagination here and I think you will come close to what I am talking about.
I arrived on a Sunday with classes beginning on Monday. So we all load up in these mini vans. There is the senior class and the freshmen class. What am I back in high school. Guess I am in the freshman class. First day are physical blood pressure, hearing, vision test, then a work well test. I think if I had know about this portion I would have given a second thought to all this. A work well test consist of lifting 25,50, and 75 pounds for several exercises 3 times each. first is waist-high to above head, next is above head to floor to waist-high, next carry each weight . All this time you are wearing a heart monitor so you have to remain calm. Then you get the privilege of pushing 100 pounds 5 feet and pulling 75 pounds 5 feet. My goodness I was exashasted! the class started with 39 ppl. only 3 were ladies. After we passed the physical we waited for the rest after the first day the class was only 10 ppl with me the only lady.
Needless to say I was in quite a bit of pain, my legs burned so much from the test I would sit for hours in hot water, you could see the bruising and swelling on my thighs. I could hardly walk. But I never let them know that I was in such pain. We did several days of class room work and studied to take a cdl permit test. These run about 25 bucks apiece. There are 3 test, general knowledge, Air brakes, and combinations. Then you finally get to get in a truck.
Let me tell you 9 gears is scary and it is NOT like driving a car. First off you have a 53 foot trailer behind you and then you must remember your brakes require AIR to stop you. this is just the first week I still have 2 more weeks left to go. Yes there was some harassment, especially because I just couldnt shift gears. You double clutch each gear, in clutch, pull out of gear to naturel, clutch out, shift in neutral clutch in shift to proper gear clutch out. All the while making sure your rpm and speed is staying where it needs to be. And don’t forget to watch those mirrors and traffic.
What was I thinking