Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Props to them Truck Drivers

So I'm home now, hot showered, and jammied. The slippers are on, and they ain't comin' off until bedtime. That's 9pm, if not earlier. I'm beat ... in a really good way. In the way I was beat yesterday, but without the mood. It feels good, and ironically enough, different, to be tired at day's end in the physical sense.

I'm intellectually tired, as well, which is a feeling I've often had with jobs (and appreciated, so long as it wasn't accompanied by the yucky kind of stress). It's satisfying to end a day feeling as though you engaged with your work and did something good. Good being subjective to each of us ~ for myself, it has generally been attached to doing something that contributed to the well-being of others.

When I was teaching, 'good' was helping a student to build communication skills. As a student-driver, 'good' is not running down a pedestrian. (Yes, I had another 'good' day, today.)

It's also lifting that doughboy-pool-sized hood all by myself or unhooking the trailer all by myself with my own limp-noodle girly-strength. (The trick is leverage and/or tools that give you torque.)

I'm starting to get the pre-trip inspection steps, without looking at the book (albeit with lots of hints from the guys ~ who have been flawlessly kind and supportive to me).

Off the top of my head (so pardon any omissions or imprecise language): outside, you check the general condition of the truck from the front; then lift the hood. On the driver's side, check the drive gear elements, air system, suspension and brake system under the hood. Check the side of the cab, the battery box, the frame, drive shaft, air hoses and hookups, electrical. Front trailer suspension, brakes, airbags, lights and plates, kingpin, locking mechanisms. Landing gears. Side of the trailer. Rear trailer suspension, brakes, torque arm.

Back of the trailer lights, doors, electrical, air connections, mud flaps, pintle parts. "Don't tread on me" bumper sticker -- just kidding.

Start up the passenger side -- point out differences like the spare tire rack and missing landing gear arm. Up at the cab, add exhaust system to the inspection. Under the hood, point out oil system, coolant system, belts, battery spark thingy -- um what is that? -- darn, can't think of it right now. ... Alternator! yeesh.

I'll talk about the inside another day. By the way, any one of those I listed may have 2-10 smaller steps within them. And a driver performs this inspection before and after any given driving day. I've always suspected that being a good, professional commercial driver took a great deal of knowledge, talent, skill and experience. When I began dating Sweet Babboo (who has been a class A for some 15+ years), I was further convinced. Earnestly. Honestly. Seriously. Until you're doing it, you can't know the full truth-o-this.

Bad drivers, shame on you. Good drivers, hats off! You rock!

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