At the airport about a month ago, while waiting for a small, propeller-powered plane to bring me back to Houston, I met a young woman who cut a tough swagger. Covered in tattoos. Face, neck, arms, legs. Probably other places. And she had that “don’t fuck with me” look on her face. So I didn’t.
An unsupervised little girl ran up to her and said something about her tattoos. Her tough demeanor cracked a bit as she chatted with the girl, who eventually ran off. She said, “Kids are so honest. They always ask me about this stuff while other people just stare.” We started to have a conversation.
She mentioned that she’d graduated from trucker school earlier that day and was heading to Houston to visit with her son before going on the road. She wasn’t sure yet what her route would be or what she’d be hauling. Until meeting this woman, I didn’t realize how many pent up questions I have about the truck drivin’ life.
I guess it’s the open road thing. There’s a certain romanticism about it. Long haul truckers see America. They travel through different seasons in the same day. They eat at funky places along the interstate full of other people from elsewhere, everybody moving moving moving and all on a schedule. They spend most of their time alone, and I’ll bet they think some weird thoughts. There are long stretches of road – like I-10 once you get out in west Texas, where the speed limit is 80 and it looks like you’re on another planet – that lend themselves to reflection, imagination and, probably, paranoia.
We’ve made huge leaps forward in so many areas of our lives in the past decade, but someone still has to physically haul all that cheap shit from China that you buy at Walmart. And bring food from ports around the country because we don’t grow our own and we want to have apples in February. So, while blue collar jobs that pay a living wage are disappearing by the bushel, truckers are still in demand. A hold out, at least until teleportation is mastered.
None of this is the interesting part of this story. The newly-minted trucker told me that one of the last lessons she learned in truck driving school was not to put anything green on her truck. It seems that something green, say, tied to the antenna, is a sign to truck stop hookers to come calling. Not having green on the truck doesn’t get you off the hook, necessarily. The students were told that if they were approached by a prostitute whose services they were not interested in, they should politely decline. Otherwise they might wake up with a slashed tire or two. In addition to truckers, I don’t know much about prostitutes. But I would wager that the ones who service truck stops are probably some tough mofos.
Next time you find yourself at a truck stop in the evening time, take a gander at the trucks. See who’s sporting the green. If this cab’s a rockin, don’t come a knockin.
(PS – a quick google for this factoid has not been successful – all I know is that this chick believed it, and I believed her – in my googling I did learn that asking on CB if someone wants “commercial company” is another solicitation tactic) (The More You Know™)