Attitude Is Everything

Day three, yesterday, horrible. I mean, absolutely horrible. Had me thinking why I was even there, too much to learn; way too overwhelming.

I was this close (one inch) from withdrawing this afternoon…

Today was day four. Get in earlier than usual, walk up the stairs, feeling kind of frumpy, not awake. Not actively participating because I the only reason I went into school today was to tell an instructor, preferably Jim, my reasons for dropping from the program. I did it because I don’t like it when people tell me that kind of stuff over the phone *cough* Jerk. *cough* Switched things up a bit my switching my seat in the classroom. My excuse was to see if instructor Chuck really knew our names, or if it was from seat recognition. He proved me wrong. The “real” reason I switched my seat was to make it easier to drop a note to the person that helped me the most during the past two days in the yard. Basically explaining that I appreciated their help, but if I’m not here tomorrow it’s because I’ve officially withdrawn from the program because I’m confused as hell, even with their help.

As the day went on, I didn’t do much. I really, really wanted to do the pre-trip inspection just because it would keep me from getting behind the wheel. Didn’t want to do that – was trying my hardest from getting there today, until Jim came up to me and asked me how things were going. Specifically, asking questions like, “How’s the shifting? And the jerking? You shaking up and down a lot?” Not really knowing what my answers would do, I told him the truth. Sure, I keep forgetting that reverse is…shit, somewhere.

Jim ended up having me meet him by one of the tractors, then met up with another student. Neither of us had any idea what was going on. Then Jim told one of us to sit in the back, one in the passenger, and save room in the back for another student. Jim took us on the range with a trailer. And each of us got our first 2.5 driving miles.

And then I realized it’s not as bad as I thought.

On this, day four, things finally clicked in. What’s up with that? Why do things finally click in after they smack a trailer on your bum and make you drive around in a circle? Put me in a tractor and I’m thinking “fuck this.” Gimme the trailer, “yes!”

The end of the day, a few of my lab partners told me that I should stick it out at least one more day. And I told them I’d go home and think about it. But in reality, going home makes me want to quit, being in the yard and range makes me want to work harder.

Just goes to show that attitude is everything.

I have a secret; I’m playing a game. And I’m lovin’ it!

TDTG: Day Two

I’m sure these “TDTG: Day X” posts will get old, but I have nothing else to write about. Sorry about the “lingo.”

Today can be summed up in two words: extremely frustrating.

My lab partner for today…has already been through half the class already. And he’s…not thinking. He let the landing gear of the trailer up and proceeded to unhook from the trailer. Me being nice, told him to stop…even though seeing a trailer fall and break in half would have been funny…if I wasn’t standing right next to it. I don’t know how many times I had to say Leave the landing gear down. Leave it down. Leave it down. Leave it down. Well, yes, normally you’d put it up, but we’re not moving the trailer. Leave it down. Leave it down. OK, don’t touch it…

Andrew, “instructor newbie”, took me in the tractor with another student, the “experienced” student, er, so I thought. (I guess he’s been driving truck for a few years, but came to school because he doesn’t know how to shift. That has me “what the fuck?” right there…) Ended up learning how to double clutch, got to drive. Absolutely had to stop ’cause I was shaking like a leaf. Got praise because I can stop without rolling forward. Wondered why that came into play, and realized why…

…Some really, really stupid people in the yard today. Maybe they don’t realize…but I know that if your lines are connected to your tractor and trailer, um, obviously you don’t want to release from the trailer. But, it happened. Someone tried…and being next to it had me yelling at the top of my lungs and running away as fast as possible. It’s like a rubber band; the lines are on a spring. Move tractor forward, trailer isn’t going anywhere…like a slingshot kind of. Best way to explain it, I guess…

Andrew thinks I’m a UFO because I pretty much “got it” on my first day. In about an hour, I guess. I can’t downshift. Er, yeah, I’m sure I can’t. But he threw a fit when I treated the tractor like a girl. His exact words:

This is not some pretty flower. This is a truck, a heavy piece of machinery. It’s strong. Treat it like so. Hit the truck. Kick the service brake like you were kicking someone in the ass. You’re a truck driver. Act like a truck driver. Get angry at the truck. Say “shit.” No, like you mean it…talk back to the truck like you’d never talk back to your mother…be angry at the truck.

I wasn’t sure what to think. I know why he did it, but…his approach completely backfired. Because he told me to get out of the truck…and as I did he told me to get back in. He’s completely fucking with me and I hate it. He asked me if I wore my feelings on my sleeve.

…me wanted to kick him in the nuts.

Had another instructor help me with coupling. Did that just fine, then I completely lost it. I had no desire to move on because I wasn’t satisfied with what I just did. He took me back to his office and we talked. Basically told me to take all the time I needed. It’s hard for me to get my lab time in because those men won’t let me have my turn. I know how selfish that sounds, but it’s the truth. I’m sure I’ll end up taking an hour after class to do my labs by myself. It’s definitely worth sittin’ in traffic on the way home for.

And, er, surprise! Test! Tuesday! I’m thinking, “how about not?” Here I am, looking at my paper, understand every single item on the coupling/uncoupling checklist…but some items are in “common sense” backwards. And I’m practicing with the truck because I promised instructor I would do so.

I promised him I’d come back tomorrow even though today has been extremely shitty…

I’m exhausted.

TDTG: Day One

TDTG = Truck Driver Training

Ugh. I’m extremely tired. And I feel like a wet sponge. Today was, um, a waste of my time. The first day of truck driver training went something like this:

Class starts at 7:00 AM, I get there way too early, so I sit in the car. I walk into class ten to seven. Seven o’clock rolls around and there’s only four of us. So we wait. And wait. Finally, a few people show up, then it’s time to introduce ourselves.

Hi, I’m Amanda and I’m from Maple Grove. I’ve never had a career…and to be honest, I have no idea why I’m here. To spite my parents, I guess. They say I don’t have any reason to be a professional truck driver…

…Which started a nice talk…I guess. For the next few hours, the instructor, Chuck, went over the “administrative” stuff – class syllabus/outline, safety rules, rules, rules, and more safety rules. Spent a lot of time on the “yard rules” since something he said got everyone’s attention and translated into: You could get seriously injured or die in the yard. Well, of course. And that’s why I know that every person driving tractors in the yard are STUDENTS. He made people feel better by saying they have an open account at the hospital in Apple Valley, but have had to use it only twice since 1972. It’s really comforting knowing that they put student safety before everything else. And all five pages of safety rules make ME feel better about being a student there.

The drug testing person came…and um. It was one of those “they like to do the ladies first,” then “emergencies” …then go down the list. I’m already at the top of the list 😉

But the guy who was doing the testing did it at the rate of one person every fifteen to twenty minutes. In the women’s restroom, even. (Ah, there’s already two stories of that nature from going OTR with Jameson.) I’m just happy Mr. Pee-Collector gave me my privacy by letting me urinate in there by myself instead of hanging around in there like he did with the guys.

Ah, yeah. As far as I could tell, I’m one of two females, but the other is in the class that started over a month ago. Need more estrogen in class! I’m sick of me sitting in the corner and having the guys crowd around me. Ah, some guy named Wes even had the guts to hit on me with the classic, “So, where do you live again?” Pu-leeze.

Oh, yeah. At the rate of a few people per hour. Since I was first, I sat in the classroom for a while. Then got up and walked around. Went for a walk outside. Took a long nap in the classroom. An hour before it was time to leave, all the drug tests had been completed, and the second instructor took our driver’s license, permit, and physical card and made photocopies; make sure everything is fine for tomorrow… While the photocopies were being made, second instructor put in a video about the history of trucks and truck driving. And there wasn’t even one female in the entire documentary. How sad… 🙁

And, just before everyone left, instructor two took a poll. I’m one of two that: haven’t driven a standard transmission or dealt with any kind of trailers. This should be fun…since, oh my God, tomorrow we’re going to…DRIVE. Er, “drop and hook” (because it sounds cooler than coupling/uncoupling).

What the hell have I gotten myself into?