Thursday, December 19, 2013

On The Road Again

When I lost my job at the factory a few years ago, a displaced worker program paid for an Associate’s Degree in Accounting and another in Computer Information Technology. Considering that I’d always earned my bread by the sweat of my brow, I was sort of hoping that I could find a job where my mental experience and common sense could come into play. However, I ended up spending four years doing telemarketing, until THAT company shut down. I’d looked into getting my CDL on my own, in the past, but decided that it was too problematic at the time. After only two interviews in eleven months of trying for sales clerk or delivery positions in locally-owned stores, I was reminded by a possible employer that I might qualify for CDL training through the unemployment office. SO, since I have past experience driving a straight-frame, and enjoyed it, I figured I’d go for it.

I had an appointment yesterday to give a lady some copies of paperwork from my last round of unemployment training eight years ago. (If I hadn’t kept it, I’d probably have had to go through a month of mostly useless classes before I’d have been allowed to enter The CDL program they offer.) Then, I had two workshops, neither of which benefited me, though we did have a nice instructor who made the time bearable. Tomorrow, I may do the drug test to get things rolling. Sometimes, it gets a little old jumping through hoops just to please bureaucrats.

On the way home, I was stopped about a mile from home by a flatbed semi blocking the road. He’d tried making the hairpin turn on our road but didn’t. His outside trailer tires dropped into a near bottomless hole at the very edge of the pavement and the back of the trailer flipped, nearly upside-down, over the guardrail and slid a little ways down the almost straight hillside below. It twisted the trailer like a piece of thin cardboard, so that the middle of the trailer was nearly vertical, side to side, while the front end was more level, but stuck up in the air over the pavement nearly six feet in the air. The tractor was being held by the fifth-wheel pin so that the driver’s side wheels were nearly six feet off the ground, also, leaving the tractor on about a 45 degree angle sideways. I was apparently the first person on the scene and a young fellow, who’d probably not seen thirty yet, came walking back to me. I asked if he was okay and he assured me that he was. I asked if he wanted me to call 911 to get him some help and he said yes, because he didn’t even know where to tell them to come. I turned the pickup around as I was on the phone, telling him that even though I was heading home, I WOULD see to it that he got the help he needed.

At bedtime, six-and-a-half hours from the time I’d called 911, a small army of emergency vehicles and tow-trucks, all lights ablaze, went by our house with the twisted remains of the wrecked truck. I would really hate to be in that poor kid’s shoes the next time he sees his boss. © 2013


Chickenmom said...

Driving is a very tough job. My youngest did OTR for 10 years. Safety awards all those years, too. But now he is so glad he doesn't do that anymore! I'm glad too - I worried ALL the time.

Gorges Smythe said...

No OTR for ME thank you, Cm; local only!

Angela said...

I never knew you could get training through the unemployment office. I would think having a CDL license would have lots of different types of job opportunities. I know that the medical supply place in St. Albans was looking for a driver to do their deliveries last week but that is a long drive from where you live to here.

I wouldn't want to be that poor guy either! A few years ago we seen a log truck that had fell over on the entrance ramp in Weston or something like that. He was sitting on the side of the road just shaking his head. I felt sorry for him.

Gorges Smythe said...

Yes, Angela, I don't know if it's available everywhere, but it is here. I drove straight-frames a lot in the past, but experience is worthless these days without that piece of paper. (Yet they let Mexicans that don't even speak the language drive truck here.)

Covnitkepr1 said...

Gorges, I drove a 5,000 gallon tanker for the 4 years I was in the Air Force. They gave me the grand title of "Fuel Specialist". They also gave me TWO WEEKS OF CLASSROOM instruction on how to drive this potential rolling incinerator before turning me loose on the world with it. You can just imagine what my first run was like that required me to back it into position to refuel a KC147.

deborah harvey said...

hi. bureaucracy layers are layers of jobs--even though they don't produce anything--and bureaucrats will do anything to keep those jobs.
that's why you are forced to sit through hours of useless hot air while hoop-jumping.

someone who went to one of those drivers' schools told me how completely unprepared those guys are when they come out of them.
he said they are dangerous and yet there they are out on the highway with huge trucks and no real training.
but the schools get the money from the unemployment funds anyway.
good thing you have the experience driving already and you know the country so you won't end up hanging off any guard rails.

Gorges Smythe said...

I imagine you were a bit apprehensive, Covnitkepr! :-)

If I ever end up hanging from a guard-rail, dh, I suspect it will be someone else who put me there. And I think your friend is right. Many times I've looked up at semi drivers to see what to me are "little kids" behind the wheel.

Lady Locust said...

Congrats on the nearness of your CDL. That should open up some doors for you - & if you are happy driving, all the better:)
Merry Christmas

Pumice said...

I hope this works into something for you. Out here there are trucks everywhere with signs on the back looking for drivers. It might involve long distance stuff though.

If you had been driving that truck it would probably not be in the ditch, but then you don't have the right piece of paper.

Grace and peace.

Gorges Smythe said...

Well, LL, I haven't even started classes yet, though I did jump through some more hoops today. May you have a Merry Christmas also!

I've seen those signs around here, too, Pumice, though they aren't as plentiful as they used to be.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

The poor guy. You're right, all the want ads I see around here are for CNA nursing or drivers. I hope you do well with it.

Gorges Smythe said...

Thanks, Kathy.