Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wasted Days And Restless Nights

It was seven degrees when I pulled into the “school lot” yesterday at 7AM, and an inch-and-a-half of snow covered the place. The smoke and water vapor rising from the exhausts of the four diesels parked side-by-side reminded me of the smoke rising from the teepees of an Indian winter camp, or a small old-fashioned military encampment (don’t ask me why). It was soon evident that lot maneuvers would be impossible without a change, so the boss-man ordered some sand and a machine to spread it. It didn’t show up until 1PM, but things went quickly, and there were soon people on the lot doing their maneuvers. However, due to the late start, a younger fellow and I didn’t get a turn.

Since I sit in my truck and watch others do their maneuvers for clues on how to do them better, I have learned a few things. Turn is not by seniority by beginning class date (it should be), neither is it by order of arrival for that day, nor by the order in which students sign in for the day (two other fair methods). It is partly by who the instructors THINK is next (not always correct), and by how quick people are to thrust themselves to the front of the crowd. Some are not above stealing a turn already promised to another. I heard one fellow yesterday tell another, “Just grab an empty truck; that’s what I do.” I also noticed that one guy manages to get two turns every day, even when some folks get none. Let’s just say that organization isn’t the school’s strong point. Nor does it have a system for dealing with the backlog of students for truck usage caused by bad weather or breakdowns. Did I mention that all their trucks are junk?

I didn’t sleep well the second part of the night (strange dreams again), so got up before the alarm this morning. Today, it was 37 degrees when I pulled onto the lot, and it was more brown than white, after some rain last night and the warmer temperature overnight. I noticed that the creek in our valley was running muddy this morning. The young guy and I got our turns before lunch, but we still weren’t first, as I feel we should have been. Later, I mentioned to the boss-man that a certain truck won’t stay in gear when the air-pressure drops below 90PSI, the seat won’t adjust properly and the driver’s door latch refuses to work. He was quick to tell me that the latch had to be ordered (meaning it WASN’T, I suspect), and that the seat had been repaired last week. He also brought up the fact that I came within a hair’s breadth of creaming one of his signs, when I didn’t allow enough room for the trailer to track. Figuring that he was ready to rear back and fight, I didn’t tell him my feelings on the other matters.

Yesterday, he canned one of his instructors and sent a student home as “unteachable,” after several weeks of instructions. The instructor had two other jobs he could go to, but I felt sorry for the student, as he is nearing retirement age, like myself. It sort of makes me wonder how long I’ll be around, if things don’t click soon. I reckon that’s one way to whittle down the backlog of students. Oh well, I shall endeavor to persevere! © 2014


Mamahen said...

Sounds like they want you to just say yes sir and ignore everything else.... Hope tomorrow goes better for you!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I went to an electronics school years ago. They were making money off of the GI bill and let the students cheat at will. I had to look for the teacher who I finally found in a class room with a girl after being late for our class. I learned a lot only because I wanted to. I could have passed easily with out learning anything. They wanted me to pay 25 dollars to get the diploma after all of that and I told them to print mine on toilet paper so that I could use it for something. A lot of these training places are not exactly top notch but you can learn a lot if you work hard. Of course you could probable sit at home for some things and learn for free, probably not trucks though.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Hang in there!

Lady Locust said...

Keep at 'er. You'll get it.

Gorges Smythe said...

It's "tomorrow" as I type this and I just had a fairly good round before lunch. Thanks. (I'm typing this from the rest stop just across the river; they have wifi.)

Not the driving part I'm afraid, SF; it's that old eye-hand thing.

Will do, Kathy!

Thanks, LL; there is yet hope!