Take away the air ride seats, the plush interior, the television, book shelves, stereo system and more. Take away all the creature comforts and communications technology, and you are still left with a beast of a vehicle weighing in at 80,000 lbs., moving night and day, chained only to a relentlessly unforgiving freight schedule. The hard reality is that for many people, it's a hard life. This, I believe, is the main lesson from the lovely Mrs. Carter's two weeks on the road with me.
What, for me and others is an adventure can become something quite different for those unaccustomed to such a nomadic existence. My bride goes home today with a new-found respect for things like indoor plumbing, being able to go to any business in town that has a parking lot big enough for a car, being able to drive without worrying about low hanging limbs, power lines or bridges, and being able to sleep without hearing the rumble of diesel engines and the "sneeze" of air compressors. She no longer has to worry about rolling out of bed because we parked at a truckstop on a mountainside. She can shower every day in her own clean home, rather than a dingy truck stop shower (for the price of $10). She no longer has to get up so early that she could wake The Almighty himself, just so she can find a poorly marked warehouse and be subjected to the insufferable attitude of its employees. When she needs to go home, she can do so without first doing battle with dispatchers who think that you can go to Florida from New Jersey by way of Connecticut.
Amazingly enough to me, she isn't enamored of this lifestyle. She certainly respects the workload, the physical demands, and the skill necessary to maneuver a vehicle this size in confined spaces. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry when she saw me, completely lost in Jersey City, on the phone with the warehouse trying to find the place only to listen to the warehouse employees argue with each other over how to find their facility. I finally had to bid the gentlemen goodnight and abandon all efforts to pick up the load. For some incomprehensible reason, my wife doesn't find it appealing to be so utterly lost and frustrated, only to have to stop for the night at a service center without shower facilities or healthy food choices. As for me, I'm stumped as to why anyone would reject such a lifestyle.
She is now safely ensconced once more in her familiar world of healthy food, step aerobics, dependable schedules, and indoor plumbing. As for me, I have a few days to rest. But I can hear the open road calling, its promise of rich experiences across this great country beckoning a restless spirit to keep moving, to live large and live at large. I may be a hopeless case in this regard, but I'm never bored.