Big rig drivers wanted

From Harper’s Weekly Review:

After three months of negotiations, the United States House of Representatives passed a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that, among other goals, aims to improve public transportation; expand broadband internet access; establish a Women of Trucking Advisory Board, motivated in part by findings that female truck drivers are 20 percent less likely than their male counterparts to be involved in a crash; and impose the same taxes on cryptocurrencies as on stocks and other securities.

Odd, to see this today, just after I read today’s New York Times story about the thousands of missing, crucial truckers in our country.

I’ve never liked driving on highways amid those big semi rigs. I’ve always felt like a krill alongside a pod of whales. But I also find big rigs awesome and even beautiful to look at. Sculptural and powerful.

I’d heard about the thousands of missing and needed truckers a few weeks ago, when Lawrence O’Donnell gave a comfortable amount of time to an interview with a long-distance trucker. (I’ve just searched for the interview because I’d like to name the trucker and confirm where I heard him but can’t find it.) He looked like a long-distance trucker, and was affable and articulate and straight-forward.

He said that no matter what commodity or appliance we bought, a truck was involved in delivering it. Never thought about this before but even when things are shipped over the seas, loaded onto freight trains or airplanes, at some point in this process, a truck will be involved.

Nothing gets delivered without a truck being involved.

And this guy said there was a need for 100,000 more truckers. Part of the problem was the pandemic, which closed training schools for truck drivers.

I got a strange sort of romance-of-the-road feeling listening to him, albeit my romance is not about driving trucks. But I have always loved getting onto a road and just going, somewhere. I love driving where I’ve never been before and thrill to seeing signs for cities I’ve never before been in.

Do I want to imagine if I were younger and weren’t working that I’d go to a truck training school? I don’t know. Everything is possible in one’s imagination and, in this case anyway, in one’s reality.


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