A Lifetime of Altered Plans

People who’s opinions of the truck driving lifestyle are based on movies and television shows and the thousands of trucks that whiz by them everyday on the highway, have very little idea of what is involved.
I know many people have a rather romanticized vision of a free and easy lifestyle. Gypsies of the highway, seeing lots of glorious scenery, meeting dozens of interesting people, not chained to a desk, etc.
While those things are all true to a certain degree they are mostly offset by years of disappointments and compromise.

Longhaul drivers seldom get to attend their children’s school or sporting events. They miss out on countless birthday and anniversary celebrations, piano and dance recitals, weddings, graduations and even funerals. Scheduling doctor and dentist appointments is a nightmare, especially in these days of two and three month waiting periods. Heaven forbid you should be so foolish as to spend money in advance for an expensive event like a concert or visiting entertainer.

It is very common to be on the road for 2 to 4 weeks and finally get a load which is at least headed in the direction of home. You can inform your dispatcher several days in advance that you wish to go home for a couple of days after this delivery.

You can spend your time as you get closer and closer to home, mulling over how you intend to use your limited home time. You can makes lists of things you would like to accomplish. Your wife will definitely be working on her Honey-Do list. And then, when you can almost smell the home-cooked meal and feel the comfort of your favorite armchair, once again your plans are altered.

“Sorry we don’t have a load to take you the rest of the way home. But, if you’ll take this one more load to (fill in the blank) we’ll see if we can get you home from there.

Many will say, “Well you chose your career. You shouldn’t complain.” Yes that’s partly true but as many of you know, you don’t always choose your career, sometimes it chooses you. Believe me after doing this for most of the last 40 years, if I could have made a decent living at almost anything else I would have. I tried more than once.

Government agencies are constantly coming up with new legislation to force us to stay out more and more days at a time to earn the same income as we did in the past.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize everybody has things that cause them to change their plans from time to time. However most of them have several other evenings this week or weekends this month to make up for it.

No it hasn’t been all bad. There are things about trucking I enjoy. There are even lots of things I don’t mind too much. But there are an awful lot of things that I and my family have missed out on over the years.

The correct song title should have been, Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Truckers.