The phone rang out of the blue. Normally it’s a robocall or some scammer who wants to buy my house.”Hello this is Sedrick from Commercial Driving School. Is Chito there?”A long pause, then I remembered I was checking out their website a few days ago – I must have inadvertently made an inquiry.”How would you like to get your CDL?”
All eight of us took turns making two maneuvers at a time. The rest of us stood around and shot the breeze or poke fun at our classmates as they ran over cones or completely mucked up the maneuver. Martha and I spotted for each other and gave advice on how close we were getting to the cones.
Her name is Hope and she checked out a room from me on Craigslist. She only needed a room for a week or two, and I was willing to rent out the room on a short term basis.
I made a big mistake, and it had nothing to do with been charged for destruction of property and simple assault. I don’t even regret showing up to the precinct to turn myself in. It was the fact that I turned myself in too late in the day that I could literally kick myself.
Taking the CDL test at the Front Royal DMV was like climbing the steep Donner Pass with an oversized load and a broken axle. On one blustery, cold April morning, ten panic-stricken students showed up to take the dreaded drivers test, all ten left without a CDL.
The sculpture caught my abiding attention. The heroic knight slaying a ferocious fire-breathing dragon. The courageous victor, St George, represents righteousness as he rescues a princess who was slated to become it’s next meal. The scary beast, an amalgam of an American Pershing II and a Soviet SS20 missile represents unadulterated evil – this was a gift from the former Soviet Union in 1990.
The next day I called Coastal Transportation (CT) “That’s great news. We need to get you down to Savannah for a two-week load securement training,” said my recruiter. “After that three weeks with a trainer.”
My flight from DC to Savannah had a long-ass layover. I was headed to my 10-day load securement training with Coastal Transportation (CT). Flying United, this wasn’t out of the ordinary, except the stopover was a 1,000 miles from from where I wanted to go.
Perhaps the only thing harder than backing a tractor trailer into a dock, was tarping a load. The tarps were heavy – 60 libs and tarping the load and securing it with bungee cords was time consuming and back breaking. And the southern Georgia sultry summer weather didn’t cooperate.
I filed a small claims case against Stacy because she had lied to me. I asked her to hold the laptop, but she claimed I gave it to her. The day of the mediation at the NY Peace Building, I informed the mediator that I had asked Stacy to hold on to the macbook.
My trainer reeked of old cheese and bacteria. He never took a shower the entire week, and he probably never brushed his teeth either – he didn’t have too many to begin with. First thing he did each morning, he combed his thick mass of hair with brylcreem, gobbled a huge wad of chewing tobacco filled his thermo flask with dark, roasted coffee and he was good to go.
Even before Western let me go, I got a call from a recruiter. “How would you like to drive a 2015 or newer model Mack and come home everyday?” “Sweet, who’s the customer?” “Concrete Pipe and Precast (CP&P) in Jessup, MD, and they normally knock off by 4pm Monday to Friday.”
I know and have no love for Internationals. The ones at Western [Express] were always scuffed and smelled like dog piss. The POS (piece of shits) at Coastal [Transportation] were always begging to be regenerated at the worst possible time. Often the dashboard signal would flash and scream when I was miles from civilization and in danger of going over my hours (Hours of Service: 11 hours of driving and 14 hours of working each day)
The week ahead I was scheduled to haul steel coils suicide from AK Steel in Butler, PA to Norfolk, VA. (suicide is when the coils face the driver – shotgun is when the eyes are facing the driver – thus the danger to other drivers on the road). With names like “suicide” and “shotgun”, it was apparent that hauling steel coil is a dangerous business.
I arrived in the school house, a veteran student in a sea of wanna-be mechanics, wet behind the ears. It was mid-January, and I had enrolled in the Diesel Technology course at the North American Trades Schools in Woodlawn.