Back in the 80s, finding work was not that easy for me. I dropped out of high school when I was 16 and most people told me that I would never be able to find a decent job or a decent life. Luckily, I met my wife back then and her dad was friends with a long haul trucker. My first thought was that I was not prepared to be on the road for long stretches of time and I might fall asleep one day, so I was nervous, but after some convincing, I went out and got my Class A license and fell in love with trucking. Being out there on the road, you might assume that I have seen some stuff and you would be totally right. Here is the first in my series of stories about what it is like to be out on the road.
When you are on the road, you are going to run into police officers. There is not a single trucker that has managed to make it through their career with any less than 3 times being pulled over by the cops. At this point, it is a way of life. My first time getting pulled over was somewhere between Colorado and Kansas. I can’t even remember at this point, but it is not that important to the story.
Anyway, I had never gotten a ticket before in my life. My wife called me Mr. Careful, which was part of why she was so encouraging that I got a trucking job. She, on the other hand, was the queen of tickets. She gets pulled over all of the time. But I would say that she probably gets a ticket once out of every five times she is pulled over. Those are some pretty nice odds. When she gets pulled over, she just turns on the tears and gets out. Once out of five times, she gets a female officer and no sympathy.
I get pulled over for the first time and I am terrified. As the officer walks up, I make a choice. I splash a little water in my eyes and think of my childhood puppy Sam that died on my 14th birthday. It does the trick and I look miserable. Up walks the cop and she’s a woman. Jackpot. I start to explain a story that someone radioed me to switch to a private channel and told me that they found pictures on Facebook of my wife with another man. I was broken up about it on the road and could not keep from bawling my eyes out. I had gotten this job just for her after all. The officer looked at me with concern and patted me on the shoulder. She told me that she was really sorry about my wife and that this was no time for a ticket. She gave me a warning slip and let me drive off. I did not think much about the warning because I was so excited to get away, but I looked at it later and her phone number was written at the bottom. I did not take up her offer of some payback.