See Who Blinks

Just talked to my dispatcher at USX. True to form they attached a load to the truck before I was even in it. I explained that I had set my PTA out for tomorrow morning, but the fact that they had assigned the load last night before I was anywhere near the truck was supposed to carry some weight. I told them that I just couldn’t do it. I have too much to take care of here at the house. The load doesn’t deliver until Monday, so if I can pick it up in the morning there’d be no problem. USX probably won’t see this as an alternative. I won’t see leaving tonight as a possibility. So it’ll be interesting to see who blinks.
I’m actually looking forward to leaving. Well, I’m looking forward to getting back to work and fulfilling my duty of digging us out of our financial hole. As upset as I was about the idea of leaving last week when I was initially supposed to leave (because two days at home seemed pitifully little), I never expected or wanted to be home as long as I have been. We had just begun to dig our way out. And while we’re in the black right now, we have bills due and I won’t draw a paycheck next week.
This has been an educational experience. I’ve learned that I cannot expect much from USX. My dispatcher told me that they had taken apart my front end and found nothing wrong with it, so that’s what USX believes. Volvo, on the other hand, told us that their examination was cursory, and that they were told to look it over but to not look too close. All I know is what I told my dispatcher; I don’t care how they spin it, or even whether or not they found something wrong with it, there’s something wrong with the front end of that truck. When a truck is difficult to control, and when it makes sudden lunges to the right, something is most definitely wrong. Maybe it’s not the steer box, but something is going on.
I think my knee is a good analogy. After I smashed my knee in 1992, I practically had to relearn to walk. It would give out on me. It causes me problems to this day. Let’s just say that whatever lingering problems are there, I’ve learned to work around them. Yet when I finally had good insurance and wanted to get that knee checked out to find out, once and for all, what was wrong with it, the so-called specialist who looked at it found nothing whatsoever wrong, and no indication of any previous damage. I thought then what I’m thinking now about Volvo; simply that they didn’t find anything wrong because they weren’t looking in the right place.
Everyone involved in the issue of my truck’s front end seems to believe that they know more about that truck than I do. My dispatcher, who has never been within ten feet of that truck, talked down to me a bit today because she believes that Volvo’s report to USX said that they disassembled the front end and found nothing wrong it. That’s not what Volvo told me. So I don’t believe that’s what’s in the report, but that someone is characterizing it that way. Or if that is what’s in the report, Volvo is telling USX what USX told them it wanted to hear.
I’ll never know. At this point I’m done fighting about it. Volvo won’t have to worry about seeing this truck again. In the three times we have been to Hickory in regard to this truck in the past week, we have driven almost three hundred miles at a time when gas prices are off the scale. USX isn’t going to pay us for that traveling. USX isn’t going to reimburse us for the cost of gas in our van. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of pushing to get this truck properly repaired. Hell, I’m the only who believes there’s a problem. Well, besides Mara. We both know there’s a problem. We’re the people who have driven this truck. As long as I am in the position where my opinion and beliefs in regard to the mechanical problems on this truck mean nothing compared to USX’ drive to save money and Volvo’s drive to make money as easily as possible, there’s nothing I can do about it.
At least this has all been documented. Hopefully nothing will ever come of it. I’ll try to drive this truck until they retire it. If I wind up remaining a solo truck driver for USX for any length of time, this is a very real possibility. I’d be perfectly happy for that information that K__ in Safety put into my file to sit there and be nothing but a footnote in an otherwise forgettable career at USX. But if something goes wrong, at least there’s enough information on file here that someone will be called to the carpet for it. Well, you would think, anyway.
It worries me that I’m now thinking in terms that are somewhat fatalistic. Should something go wrong, at least I know that Mara and Mama would be covered. My life insurance at USX is pretty good. If something should go wrong Mara and Mama won’t have to worry about a house or car payment; they’ll have enough money to pay these things off. But if something goes wrong and I should get killed in that truck, I would hope that Mara would sue the pants off of USX, because I ranted so long and hard about these problems and was ignored.
I don’t like that I’m thinking like that. Hopefully I’ll go out and nothing will happen. But there’s that little voice in the back of my head that keeps asking me why I’m willing to take these chances. The job isn’t worth it. The company itself couldn’t give a damn if I exist. I guess in the end I know that I simply don’t have a choice. Until something actually happens to the truck, it’s all theoretical, and it’s possible that I’m just being paranoid and melodramatic. Mara isn’t going to let me come home just because I’m afraid of my truck.
I suppose all that’s left to be said is my old maxim; “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we drive.”
That used to be funny. Now it has overtones that I don’t care for at all.

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