I never would have thought I'd end up being a truck driver. Hey, I may not drive a semi, but I do drive a very large, very wide (duelly) truck while towing an unbelievably long (40 ft) and heavy trailer. What can I say, I'm a woman of many talents.
Although, I'm not entirely sure driving is one of those talents, certainly not an inherent one. Today and Saturday, I spent the morning hours practicing backing up with the truck/trailer in the stake center parking lot. Saturday morning, my boss (who I love, despite recent comments that sound like I don't) re-explained the basics of backing to me then let me practice on my own while he played with his son on the nearby grass. I appreciated that he was letting me try to figure it out, but I was very self-conscious knowing that he could see every mistake I made. Today, once we got to the stake center, he rode his bike home and didn't come back for a few hours. You see, I only have my permit, so I need a licensed CDL driver whenever I'm driving on public land. It's okay to practice in the parking lot without a licensed driver because it's private property. We even have permission from the stake president. Woohoo! It was nice today to be able to do whatever I wanted and not feel like he was wondering what the heck I was doing. After a couple hours, I finally started to get the hang of it. A little.
The true problem about backing up with a trailer is the seemingly (to me) illogical fact that if I want the back of the trailer to go right, I need to turn the steering wheel left and vice versa. My boss and his uncle and my dad all explained to me why this was so, and I could even understand what they were saying. However, when I got behind the wheel and needed to actually do it, my brain couldn't adjust. When I wanted the trailer to go right, I'd steer right and it'd go left. It was very frustrating, especially on Saturday. Finally, I stopped trying to back into the lane created by cones that my boss had set up and just backed up wherever I wanted, just to get the feel of how the truck and trailer moved. That helped a lot. By the end of the morning, I was finally beginning to catch on. Today, I worked on backing into the lanes; straight back, off-tracking, and 90-degree angle backing. I still need to practice a lot, but I'm feeling tons better.
Tomorrow, I'll be driving in town!! It'll be the first time I've ever done so. Up 'til now, I've only driven on rural roads and on I-70 (on the trip to Colorado), so I'm a little nervous about making turns with this huge monster while being surrounded by other vehicles. Did I mention it's huge??? I'm just praying I don't hit another car, run over a stop sign, or - worst of all - take out a pedestrian. Hmmm. I wonder what my boss would do if I do any of the above? Probably laugh if I do the second, but probably not so much if I do the first or third. Hey, if you live in my town, stay off the roads during the morning if you can possibly help it!! I'll be driving from 10am to 12pm, so consider yourselves warned.
I take the CDL driving test on May 1. I'm nervous. I'm a fairly intelligent person, academically speaking; I can tell you the year England was last successfully invaded (1066), discuss the impact of Keynsian economic policies in the United States, and form a fairly adequate regression analysis. However, give me something practical to do, like screw in a light bulb, and I end up figuring out the hardest possible way of accomplishing the task. Hence why I usually sit at a desk, in front of a computer screen, and compute things instead of working with my hands. Hence why, of all the people in this world that I know personally, I'm 4th to last on the list of people I could ever picture driving a huge truck and trailer. 4th to last!! That's significant; I know a lot of people.
And yet, I'm driving a monster truck and trailer. I may even (heaven help me!) pass my driving test and get a class A CDL with an air brake exception. That means I'd have the same license class as a semi driver, but couldn't actually drive a semi because they have air brakes and I don't know anything about air brakes.
So...just call me J-Rigg. I'm a truck-driving, trailer-towing, backwards-going, stop sign-avoiding hottie with an attitude the size of her rig, dark shades, red lipstick, and country music blaring in the cab.
And, thanks, Natalie, for coming up with the name; every truck driver needs a trucker name. Now I have mine. :)