Loud mouth trucker (04/12/2022) 

Just when my bowl of soup arrived, a middle-aged man walked in. He looked around for a few seconds, then sat down at the counter between two other drivers. I suspected he hadn’t seen a shower or razor in a week, and that he might’ve worked and slept in those clothes even longer.

As soon as he hit the stool he started talking to his neighbors. Instantly I wished that I had chosen a table at the other side of the restaurant. This guy was one of those people who talk in such a loud tone of voice that you have to listen, whether you want to or not. And that wasn’t even the worst part.

He was also a Big Talker. His truck was faster and more powerful then everyone else’s, he made an incredible amount of money and he was smarter than any DOT officer or policeman he ever had to deal with.

He could finish trips in about half the time I’d need, and he knew better how to run the company he worked for than the man who founded it some thirty years ago.

The unwelcome dinner conversationalist couldn’t stop talking even when he ate. I felt sorry for the guys next to him.

Their conversation was rudely interrupted. They were victims, ambushed by someone who was determined to kill their chance for a quiet and peaceful break. They hardly talked back; a few nods, and the occasional yes or no: those were all they were prepared to contribute.  I finished my meal faster than usual, skipping dessert. All I wanted was to get away from the new and noisy expert-on-everything.

Let me explain that I get along with most people, no matter what they do or where they come from. But I find it exceedingly difficult to deal with big talkers, even when I’m not part of the conversation. I like to stay away from them, just as much as I like to stay away from people who find it necessary to use the f* word in every sentence. And then there are those people who are always terribly negative, nothing but complaints about almost everything.

Shortly after I returned to my truck, I saw him striding across the parking lot and climbing into a green Peterbilt that had seen better days.

The next morning, I had to make my delivery at a nearby warehouse. It was one of those older places that are not built for tractors with 53-foot trailers. There was little space to swing around and the docks were so narrow that it was awfully hard to get in and out of the truck while sitting between others.

Now I have always been rather good at backing, even as a rookie. This particular situation was challenging, but I managed to get it in with only three pull ups. While I was filling out my log I saw a familiar-looking Peterbilt enter the yard. I also recognized the driver who got out and entered the receiver’s office with the paperwork. It was last night’s Mister Loudmouth, the driver who could do better than anyone else. Well, he shouldn’t have trouble backing in, should he, his being such an expert?

After a while he reappeared. Instead of entering his truck, he started walking across the yard, apparently searching for his assigned dock. He assessed the situation for a minute before returning to his truck.

I expected to see some slick maneuvering. After all, being the great driver, he claimed to be, it should take him no more than a few seconds to hit the dock. To my surprise his setup was questionable at best. Too close to the fence, not enough room to swing around the tractor. He started going back and forth, turning the wheels too far or not far enough. If I hadn’t known any better, I would have guessed that he was a student driver at work making one of his first backups. Countless pull ups later, he finally got his rig in there.

I just couldn’t resist, I had to go check out the result of all his hard work. My trainer taught me to hit the dock at a 90-degree angle. If I was too far off, he made me do it again. I know sometimes that’s a tall order, especially when there are no lines on the pavement or other trucks you can use for reference. Passing the Peterbilt, I could hardly believe what I saw. The tractor and trailer were at an angle, the trailer was at the dock far off the mark and he had made it almost impossible for the driver next to him to pull out. I glanced at his truck and I could see the sweat dripping of his forehead.

Why does someone try to make people believe that he is the perfect driver while he’s not even able to master backing up to a dock? Why brag and exaggerate to people he will most likely never see again?

May be this man was suffering from an inferiority complex. Maybe he likes to live in his own fantasy world. I don’t know why he talked the way he did; and to be honest: I don’t care, either. What I do know is that next time someone sits down next to me and starts talking to me the way he did I’ll find a great excuse to leave. I think I’ll make up an excuse in advance, just in case….


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