Trucking has seen a lot of changes through the twenty-nine years I’ve been involved in the profession. I can only imagine what the pro’s with forty to fifty years of trucking under their belts have seen. I remember when I was fourteen, and my older brother, Eddie, invited me along on a road trip from Oklahoma to south Texas. He actually wanted me, his little brother, to tag along . . . I was so proud! I recall the moment he cranked that Kenworth and that old diesel engine came to life. As he pulled out onto I-40, I remember wondering what experiences would lie ahead.
We had a lot of fun times and it was a great learning experience for a young teenager. I remember seeing a truck broken down on the side of the road and at least two or three more trucks behind him lending him a helping hand. I recall the CB radio blaring through the night, as another trucker would ask for help with directions and about thirty other drivers would jump in eager to assist. I remember listening to the CB for hours as the drivers shared stories and funny quips about their lives. Once, as we pulled into a mom and pop truck stop, there was no place to park, but then a couple drivers flagged us down and said to give them a few minutes and they would “scoot” their rigs over to give us room to park. That is when my brother told me about the brotherhood of trucking.
Now, years later, with more than two million miles under my belt, my trucking experiences have even surpassed those of my older brother. I now often wonder what he would think about the brotherhood of trucking. I turned off my CB radio about ten years ago. The abusive, childish action that asserts itself constantly through the speaker, had finally taken its toll on me. It’s nearly impossible to have a “normal” conversation like years past. Now, if a trucker breaks down on the side of the road, they can expect little, if any, assistance, and may be called fouled names and ignored by the “brotherhood.”
I know there are still a few exceptions, for the most part, however, times have changed. There is so much hate out on the road, very little kindness anymore . . . with a lot of rude, mean actions. Truck driving is hard enough without having to deal with grown men acting like children. It’s kind of sad, actually. The overcrowded highways and the stress placed on drivers by the trucking companies play a big part. The main reason, I believe, is simply people have become more contemptible. There is this “tough guy” attitude that many drivers feel they have to portray. Trucking for me was just a way to make a living and to provide for my family. Trucking didn’t take its toll on me . . . the cynicism finally beat me down.
Sometimes, when I’m running through some city or on the back roads of America, and I happen to hear the trumpery on the CB . . . or I see the others in truck driving arguing over some ridiculous, minuted discussion . . . or catch the malicious remarks by a trucker about another trucker. . . I like to stop a moment, close my eyes and take a deep breath, and remember that time with my brother . . . that time when the brotherhood of trucking was a sincere, phenomenal event.
© 2007 – 2018, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.