Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's happening

So, this is it. Having decided, approximately 2 months ago, that it would be an interesting exploit to drive long-haul for a while, I seem to have survived trucking school, got myself an AZ licence and found a job in the transport industry.

I have been inducted in the ways of yard work and city driving and now await the phone call, the call that will tell me when to be where, so that my new instructor and I can hit the highway, live the life, and generally see the world from the cab of an 18-wheeler.

I am a rookie. And a woman. I am still a little apprehensive in heavy traffic and my reversing has a random quality to it that is not always charming, especially when delivering time-sensitive loads. The company says that all this is fine, it's to be expected, that's why they take rookies on and train them up themselves. We will learn company ways and be safe. I will become a terrific driver.

But the plan was to write wry and whimsical travel copy; seeing the world (well, North America) one truckstop at a time from the cab of an English lady's truck. Intrepidly continuing to maintain that it had a bonnet and not a hood. I hadn't factored in that it might be a bit difficult to learn, a tad disconcerting, and - to be brutally honest - bloody frightening. Your faithful English documenter of the wry and whimsical to be found on the other side of the Pond is now able to report that being a bit scared about what's next has a profoundly detrimental effect on the wryness and whimsicality of her reportage.

However, as a result of 2 weeks of local deliveries, I can already report the fascinating fact that Campbells Cream of Chicken Soup does actually contain real chicken. I know this because I sat for an hour and a half waiting to deliver 58,000 lbs of the stuff to a warehouse that wouldn't accept it because someone had lost an inspection form for taking meat over the border. I am left wondering how you inspect the meat in a truckful of cans of soup, but in little doubt that such odd but vital trivia will keep on coming.

In the meantime, my steel-toed safety trainers, maps, manuals and big bag of snacks are packed and I am contemplating risking the pink baseball cap as a signature accessory. Will it be fun? I'll let you know.