This was the first time meeting this driver. He had wild salt and pepper hair, a bit like Don King. His voice was rough and gravely and he had a twang. I was sitting towards the back and side on a newer short bus, which meant that I was sitting over a wheel and awkwardly slinging my now-booted foot over the wheel hub while clinging to my knee scooter so it wouldn’t go flying. The newer short buses are more narrow and impractical for seating, but they have better acceleration and a smaller turning radius. There was another young woman on the bus but she was keeping to herself and her phone.

The bus got a bit noisy as we got moving, as the fans started circulating and the driver kept his window down. It was just one of those days where it was not stupid hot but not especially cool either. There were a few times I had to smile and nod because I didn’t quite catch what he said, as hard as I tried. The driver was eager to chat, told me he had been a long-distance trucker for 17 years. I told him I assumed he had seen all 48 [states, of course easier to travel by highway, Hawaii and Alaska always being left out] then, and he said yes. He said he had all of his kids up in Chicago, but he hated it there. He’s got some vacation time coming up but he’s not sure what to do, but he’d much rather drive than fly. I actually have heard this from every single trucker I have come across, but I didn’t say this to him. He said if he does do a trip, he already has a few people in mind, but he’s okay with staying one night and then getting the hell out, because that’s about all he can take of them. He has one best friend in Alabama who is getting older, and he really can’t even stand her for too long. I said something about Texas being too big to drive through, and he said naw, Ohio is. And I agreed. Ohio is like watching paint dry. Plus they still haven’t raised their speed limit, so the cows might be faster than the cars. He cackled.

As we were accelerating from a red light that just turned green, there was an older guy on a motorcycle who cut back and forth through traffic in a very unsafe way. We both said at the same time that he must want to die. It really was unusual to see an older guy on a bike that he obviously loved and took care of handle it in that way. My driver talked about wanting to get a bike of his own. He told me that some years ago a friend of his had really pressured him into borrowing his bike, but then my driver had a big…well, mishap. He ended up pushing it all the way back to his friend. Now when his friend sees him, he pretends like he doesn’t really know him. The friend was really, really insistent upon him trying it. My driver didn’t have a license, and was used to big rigs, not two wheels. Now my driver wants to get a smaller bike, take some lessons, and show up at this friend’s house and demonstrate his ability to ride comfortably. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but maybe it will convince that guy to go riding with him.

We were getting ready to drop the other rider, who up to that point in time was completely silent, but she directed him towards the art building of a large community college campus. I asked her which art class she was taking and she said ceramics, and I told her that our mom had a kick wheel in the basement when we were growing up. She became excited and said she had one herself now. I asked her what they would be firing and she said they were doing soda firing, which left the glazes extremely shiny. She also explained that they had the option of doing wood firing versus gas firing, but the wood firing was far more expensive and would take around 12 hours, so they only would do the gas firing. [Art is all around; community colleges are great places to take classes if you want to explore certain mediums. I took vocal performance classes while pursuing my RN degree just to have something to look forward to while trying to get through a brutal schedule.]

Polar Bear on a Scooter

Clock – “I Became A Truck Driver For The Money And Fame”

Truck Yeah Sweatshirt