Sunday, March 8, 2009


Morton, IL

Been stuck up here since Wednesday, believe it or not. I think I'm going to set a record for the longest time a driver can sit without a load! While I'm at it, I'll also probably set a record for the skimpiest paycheck of the year next week, because I can't draw layover pay, sitting here at the terminal. I guess it's considered a home away from home, or something like that. I delivered my load Wednesday morning, then was told to come on up here, to get my truck serviced and have some problems fixed. That was completed Wednesday afternoon, then no load showed up and here I've been ever since.

I was thinking that my hiatus up here might be punishment for idling my truck too much, but a talk with another dispatcher the other night indicated that this is probably not the case. We only hold orientation classes for newbie drivers every two weeks nowadays and Thursday is still Rookie Day here. They graduated a small class this week, and the newbie drivers stole all the loads there were, over Thursday and Friday. They get priority on the loads because they've been out away from home for 4-6 weeks, during training. The Peoria area is very depressed now, because of the financial woes of our biggest customer, who is headquartered in that city and whose plants dominate the entire area around here. They employ more people than anyone else around here and there have been several rounds of layoffs of late. Not good. Not good at all.

I got a nasty Qualcomm message about idle time Thursday. threatening "disciplinary action" if I don't bring my percentage down in the next two weeks. It stated that I am not to idle at all if I'm not in the truck. Well, DUH!!! I mean, I DON'T idle it, if I'm out of the truck for any length of time!!!!!!!! I never have. I might leave it running if I'm only stopping for a brief bathroom break, but that's about all. And just how the hell do they KNOW if I'm in the truck or not?? They haven't got spy cameras in these things (yet, anyway). Only one way they could know that. Company cops. Those self-appointed company policy enforcers who scrutinize every other company truck they see anywhere, to see if the driver is in compliance or not. And if not, they call one of the Suits upstairs and rat that driver out. Back-stabbers, brown-nosers, apple-polishers -- take your choice of a name for these characters. I have some personal names for them, but they're not printable in this family-friendly blog. That's the only possible way they could know, and add that to the warning; I've been spotted by one of these creatures and ratted out to the company brass.

To be honest, there are certain things that I would rat another driver out for myself. If I saw a driver stealing from a load, intentionally damaging or vandalizing company/customer property, or operating a truck in an unsafe manner, I would report them. But that's it. I'm not going to check out every truck I see to see if the driver complies with every bullcrap policy the company runs up the flagpole. Especially if I don't exactly salute that policy. I might say something about it to that driver, in person, but I wouldn't rat him out. I don't like having that done to me and I won't do it to anyone else.

I had good, mild weather Thursday, Friday and yesterday, so I kept it shut down, except for excursions into town, to get a meal. I was careful to shut it off when I left the truck, as there are always many of our trucks around all over the place up here. It turned cooler last night, so I fired it up to stay warm. I ain't freezing and I'm not going to stew in my own juices in hot weather, either. If they want to fire me, so be it. I'll cross that bridge if and when I get there. But I will go on a "idle diet," if that's what they want. Hell, I'll shut the engine off in heavy traffic and at long-holding traffic lights, if that makes them happy. I'll start it up cold and only let it run long enough to shift gears, then take off in it. That's hard on the engine, yes, but it's their truck and if they don't want me idling it long periods, I won't.

Cooler today too, in the 40s, and I'm running it right now, to warm up this cab. Then, I'll shut it down again. At least it's not idling constantly that way. If I can ever get a freakin' load and get out of here, on the road again, it'll help a lot with that percentage I'm supposed to hit. Along with the cooler temps here, we have wind. Oh, yes -- WIND!!!! This area is/was under a severe storm warning until 4 P.M., CDT. Up here, than means "tornado watch." I've observed no funnels so far, but it has been raining, on and off, and that wind will blow you away.

Went up to the truckstop while ago, to get some cough medicine to treat a rotten cold I've managed to catch (and which made me miserable last night). Opened the cab door and had to hang onto it for dear life, in order to keep it from being torn off! Walking across the lot, to the building, I was blown every way but straight. It's a particularly nasty, swirling wind and it feels like a giant hand pushing you to and fro. I tacked my way inside, like a human sailboat, got what I needed, then tacked my way back out to the truck again. Like before, the door was nearly blown off its hinges by the wind and I thought that I'd never get it closed again. But that breeze lulled just enough so that I could slam it closed, finally. In spite of spinning my wheels and making squat for a paycheck these past few days, I'm kind of glad that I'm not out there driving in this squall. It would be miserable, I know.

Well, tomorrow's a new day and hopefully a load will materialize for me and I'll be on my way again. Someday (soon, I hope) I'm going to get be able to have the time to spend with my new lady friend. Things are going unbelievably well for both of us, on the phone and online. If Murphy don't stop plaguing me with his damned law pretty soon, I'm gonna kick his ugly rear all the way back to Ireland!!!

1 comment:

M88 said...

Yeah I guess its slow all over. I heard an Owner Opperator talk about how he only has one load for the whole week booked up here in Cleveland.