It looks like many of you are happy with your jobs and your places! Good! Garrett Richie killing it up in Grand Forks with Kile Brewer. Sky Chadde posting some nice links from Dallas. Ryan Schuessler showing us who the greatest of our peers is in Ferguson. Celia Ampel having a blast in Florida. Yep, I believe that’s everyone.
Anyway, Springfield sucks. That’s where I’ve been, as almost all of you know. It’s a good town that raised me, and it’s getting better always, but it’s full of ghosts and empty of people, and by the time I bike home from work at night, dead memories have eaten my aorta and my heart falls out.
So I’m going trucking.
Not a joke! On Tuesday I start Truck Driver Training School, which is a real thing that lasts a month, costs $3500 and ends in a Class A Commercial Driver’s License, including special endorsements which allow me to transport hazardous materials like poisonous liquids and radioactives (not a joke!). Then, if all goes well, I’ll spend no more and hopefully no less than 1 year long-haul trucking around the country or, if all goes really well, the continent.
This plan has been described by my friend AJ as “more you than I thought you could be.”
It will be interesting. Probably not “fun.” Probably intensely lonely and boring. I probably won’t be the largest, beardest, or most popular guy in the Flying J. But I got into journalism because I wanted to wanted to see how people who aren’t me live their lives and to expand my understanding of human experience as much as possible. Journalism itself is only a window into empathy. Anytime I can be a trucker or a hitchhiker or a waiter or a pizza delivery driver, I can walk in through the front door.
Much crushing loneliness and lower back pain is in my future. I’m going to find out a lot about the workings of my soul and also air brakes. But hey, truck stop prostitutes can’t be worse than Springfield’s Tinder scene. Trucking will be romantic and sexy in its own way and worth writing about, and I’ll probably make you read it.
Matt Buchanan, a former trucker from Marion, KS got starry eyed as he remembered his days on the road. He thought of the Navajo Desert under a full moon in the dead of night. He remembered calling his wife at 3 a.m. as he witnessed the northern lights in Canada. “The world is a beautiful place, if you can see through all the bullshit that’s around it,” he told me. “And you can do that from the front of a truck.”
Most importantly, and really why I’m doing this: I’ll also be out of debt. I’m excited! Be excited! For eight years, I’ve accepted almost every offer of a free beer or a meal or a ticket (Thanks, Brandon). Rarely do I buy a round or a meal or go on like a real date. That has never felt like me, but I’ve never been able to justify buying a round of shots when my sum assets come out to $-24,900. A first-year driver makes around 35-40k, so if all goes well, I’ll have a lot of $. When I get back, I’m going to travel, see you people, buy you drinks, and kiss a real girl, maybe. Then, who knows. It’s a scary world. I fear it.