Brief Moment At Home

I’m getting ready to leave home. Well, theoretically at least. I still wouldn’t mind if a big rock fell from the sky and crushed the truck. Okay, I shouldn’t say that. Mara was laid off last week and hasn’t found another job yet. The only money we have coming in is what I make. And given the way things go most of the time at USX, that is not a good thing.
Long story short, I spent the weekend at home. When I got to the customer last Friday, I was at the wrong location. They sent me to another location in Charlotte. When I arrived there I found another parking lot full of USX trucks. Most of them were the same people who had sat down in Thomasville, Georgia waiting for a destination. This location was refusing any new water loads. My wrangling about going home continued, and I was finally beaten into relative submission. But about the time I decided that I was at least going to take my break at home, a message came in telling me to take my load back to Thomasville, Georgia. For some reason, this struck me as hilarious.
So I came home. I had planned to leave on Saturday. Then I had planned to leave on Sunday. But essentially I discovered that no one really gave a fuck what I do with the load, just as a long as I’m still sitting on it. I also discovered that of the three organizations involved here (meaning USX, FEMA and the company who this water really belongs to), no one knows what the hell is going on. I found out that the assumed FEMA reps that I’ve been talking to are all temporary workers, not FEMA people.
I got a call yesterday from a gentleman from the company who owns the water. He wanted to know where the load was. I told him that they had sent me to Charlotte and were now sending me back to Georgia. Apparently USX is mistaken in assuming that they are supposed to dispatch these loads. The water people are supposed to do that. And since I never signed out this load (USX told me to just go), the water people had no idea what had happened to it. I told him I would have the load down there last night or this morning.
Right now I’m having a hard time giving a damn. This FEMA stuff has turned out to be a nightmare. I didn’t mind running that one load down to Baton Rouge. Even with the delays I felt like I was helping, and it was still handled with a little intelligence. This standby stuff is mind-boggling, because no one involved knows what’s going on. Right now I’d like nothing better than to take my 54,000 pounds of water and dump it in the ocean. Sure, some of the drivers don’t mind sitting and getting paid. But as much as I might like to park at a truckstop somewhere and be paid to play Everquest, I would much rather be doing something. Anything.
There are a lot of other issues weighing down on me, as well. I won’t go into much detail, but I will say that it involves my life and my perception of that life. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in some purgatory, or that this is all a bad dream. When I’m home I look at at the things that need to be done here, and which would get done if I were home every night and weekend. Mama has stopped cleaning the house because she thinks Mara should help more. Mara doesn’t clean the house because she spends every spare moment sitting in front of the computer playing Everquest II.
When I come home it’s like coming into a junkyard. Even when the house gets beaten somewhat into shape, it’s still a cluttered mess. I hate this. And I hate being stuck out on the road where I can’t do anything about it. I’d gladly shape up the house. I would love to be home to where I could start fixing the 101 things that are wrong with the house and need to be attended to. But instead I’m stuck in a big red box, babysitting a load of water with no destination, while the house and our lives continue to crumble at home.
I hate where I am right now. I hate what I’ve become. Last Friday when that USX dispatcher and I were sparring, the only thing that kept me from telling everybody to kiss my ass was the fact that Mara was told not to come into work last Friday. She got paid for the day, but they had nothing for her to do, and so that was it. If not for that, and knowing that Mara was going to be out of work for a while again, I would have been done with USX, FEMA and truck driving.
But for now the truck is warming up in the driveway. As hard as it is for me to conceive, I’ll be leaving in a few hours, if not the next thirty minutes or so. I’ll climb back into my box. We’ll continue to narrowly avoid losing our van and our house, and somewhere down the line I’ll still be wandering around in the that truck trying to climb out of the hole we’re in, still feeling like a ghost that wants nothing more than to simply cease to be.

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