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Il Parabrezza (The Windshield) Post 4


I delivered to Houston last week. I emptied out and drove to Love’s truck stop on McCarty Street on the east side.  At mid-day there were a lot of trucks parked there; indeed, it was jammed.  This is not a good thing.  Houston is a major port.

I wanted a shower, and I had no backhaul. I found a place to park along the driveway into Loves. (You can see trucks leaving through that same driveway at the lower edge of the picture.)

I got my shower. It cost $9.00

I returned to my truck. There was still no backhaul.

Waiting is uncompensated, and killing the time is hard.  I try to sleep.  I try to read.  I listen to the radio around the clock, tuning in NPR, Rush Limbaugh, Coast to Coast AM, and others.  And there is, for me, a constant agitation because I don’t know what’s coming.  It’s hard to commit myself to an activity, like writing, because my quarters are uncomfortable and because I have no assurance that once I’ve begun, that I’ll not be interrupted.

But I try, and I was lost in thought when the first knock came.  It sounded like a rock had struck the truck; I jumped.  Then I got mad, and nearly called the guy a name.

He was black, about 40.  His shirt was torn, although not dirty. I looked out my window at him.  In the driver’s seat, you sit 8 1/2 feet off the ground, so you’re nearly always looking down on whomever is outside. He really irritated me, interrupting my reverie as he did.

He wanted to talk; I didn’t.  I’ve heard plenty of truck stop hard luck stories.  He would explain some personal need like food, or a room.  I would judge his performance.  Some performances rate compensation.  Others don’t.  Causing me to jump was not a good idea.  I told him to get lost, several times.  He angered, and shambled away, muttering, gesturing and gnawing on something, like a candybar or a plug of tobacco.

Hours passed: time for a bathroom break and to throw out the trash. As I descend from the cab, a pickup stops next to me. It’s a late model and clean.  The driver is a white woman, late middle age, good teeth.  She opened the door and hailed me.  "My sister is homeless because of the hurricane.  I’ve got a hotel room for her, at a Motel 8, not far from here, but I’m $12 short.  I stopped you because I could tell you speak English, praise Jesus."  I climbed back into my truck, as I’d left my wallet there.  I had two 20’s and two singles.  I gave her $2.  She said, "God Bless you, Sir!," and drove off.

In the late afternoon, a message arrived on the satellite display.  I was to drive to Dallas and await a load there.  I did so.  But there was no load.  I deadheaded back to Colorado.  Costs to the company for that deadhead summed to $1506.


Love's Travel Center on Houston's east side.  Photo is from Google.

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