“Hey Chris. You ever think of how all these groceries in all these trailers will turn into shit in the next few days? This trailer has forty thousand pounds of shit on it, just hasn’t fulfilled its destiny yet.” Before Chris can respond, we’re interrupted.
“HOSTLER! DOOR 143 READY TO GO!”
The handheld Motorola radio is almost impossible to understand. Only by experience and filling in the blanks of what words I think the radio may be saying am I able to do my job.
“Door 143. Copy.”
“HOSTLER! THIS IS THE GUARDSHACK! WE GOT A LOAD OF CEREAL HERE. WHAT DOOR?”
How the fuck do I know what door? I don’t unload the shit.
“Door 105 please.”
All day long, 10 hours of hooking and unhooking, pulling out and backing in semi trailers. Listening to the radio yell at me. And dealing with gyppos. Gyppos are the low class, non union truck drivers, most here for the first time, from all over the place. Sikhs from Fresno. Rednecks from Saskatchewan. Every kind of person from every kind of place. One thing most of them have in common is the marked inability to safely and efficiently drive a 53 foot trailer in reverse. I watch these guys struggle to back into a door, sometimes for an hour or more.
I notice a nice ass and long auburn hair walking from her truck to the receiving office. Probably 25 years old. She looks….attainable.
An hour or so later, I drive up and knock on her cab.
“Hey, you got a green light. They unloaded you awhile ago.”
Lazily smoking a Marlboro, she tells me, “My comcheck isn’t working and I have to wait for my dispatcher to pay the lumper fee.” Even in a union distribution center they have scab illegal aliens unload the inbound trucks. The lumpers. Hated by all.
“So of course you sit here and don’t get paid a dime. It’s criminal they way they treat you over the road drivers.”, I say.
“Yeah. The most I’ve ever made is six hundred in a week. I basically live in this truck and only get to go home to Utah once a month.”
“It’s a fuckin crime. Well, good luck.”
About four hours later her truck was still parked in the dock. I roll up and tell her, “Hey. Your company obviously don’t give a shit about getting you out of here. Don’t cost them anything after all. You ought to call right now and tell em if it ain’t figured out in fifteen minutes, you quit. They can come get their truck.”
She starts to cry. “But I dont have anywhere else to go…” She says this with an inviting, almost pleading look.
Oh boy. Do I ever hate being around crying women. The thought of inviting her back to my place is quickly disregarded. It’s usually against my religion to even talk to gyppos. But she has a nice ass and that ought to count for something in this world. I decide to help her out.
“Ok. Check it out. Wait until there’s no trucks checking out at the guard shack. All ya gotta do is just drive on through, don’t stop at the fuckin security gate.”
She’s still crying, harder than before, and says, “I don’t want to get in trouble.”
“Get in trouble with who? With MY boss? The lumpers? What are they gonna do? They ain’t the police. Fuck em. Just leave.”
“What if I get arrested?”
“It ain’t against the law to leave here. It ain’t a prison. If your boss says anything, tell him he ought to thank you for saving him the lumper fee.”
“Are you sure it will work?”
“Yeah. Look. These security guys make minimum wage. They don’t really give a shit. They’re just here to assign doors. They don’t know anything about the lumpers. It ain’t their deal. Just drive away.”
She seemed to think about it for a few seconds, then thanked me again. I drove away.
When I left four hours later she was still there.
I don’t understand how people can live lives of passive acceptance, following rules that are easily subverted, fearing the most minor of consequences, and ultimately striving for rewards that never materialize.