Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Trip Home

My son, Josh, went with me to pick up the rig and bring it home. He took the video in the previous post, laughing at my tentative first efforts. What does he know? He’s just a kid. In my mind, anyway. And maybe his wife’s. And his stepson’s. And his friend’s. Hell, he’s just a kid.

Stepping on the gas and going, turning corners, staying in your lane – these are all the things you think about and pay attention to. What creeps up on you and revs up the old adrenal gland is stopping. You’re driving toward an intersection, thinking about all those other things, and applying the brake by habit. Applying it way too late. Then applying it harder. Then glancing left to see if the trailer is passing you.

It’s not, of course. The trailer has brakes of its own, and they work. When you’re finally stopped and your breathing has started, you realize just how much friction it takes to bring 24,000 pounds from rolling 60 feet every second, to rolling none. For the next hour, the problem is stopping too soon, and pissing off everyone behind you.

The trip took over five hours, and I drove the first two or three. It was surprisingly easy on the Interstate, the biggest obstacle trying to maintain speed up the hills of western Pennsylvania. So easy, in fact, that I decided to let the kid take a turn. It turns out he has some abnormal issues.

Did you see the X-Men movies? The chick, Storm? The one who can bring on torrents of rain and all sorts of nasty weather. Apparently, she’s really pissed at Josh for some reason. I think they used to date. Anyway, she unloaded and he got to navigate the rig through the waterfall called I-70. I pretended to sleep and did mantras – om mani padme skid.

In any event, we made it OK, and the worst part was putting $174 worth of diesel in the truck.

Stay tuned. The next episode includes The First Back-Up and my despair for the future.