"Keep on Truckin'." We throw that around a lot, and we know what we mean. When the going gets tough, keep on going. You can't get much simpler than that.
I've said this phrase a lot lately (and had it said to me), so it got me thinking about how such a phrase became part of our everyday vernacular.
When I'm out driving on the interstate, I do think about the big trucks and the people who drive them. Much of the time, I'm trying to avoid being stuck beside them because, courtesy of my overactive imagination, I can just see my car getting swept up by one of those huge tires, leaving me and my car on the side of the road like a crumpled tissue. If cars were dinosaurs, a big rig would be a T-Rex and my Nissan would be something little and cute, like a prehistoric turtle. I'm not betting with those odds.
I also think about the people driving those trucks and what it would be like to have their job. It's a hard one, no doubt. Lonely, monotonous, exhausting, and a little dangerous. I imagine that sometimes life would feel a little surreal, since people in the transport industry definitely have to play fast and loose with time and space. You can't make a hot meal, you're stuck eating what you can find on your route. You can't curl up in your bed with your spouse, you have to crash in the sleeper or, if there's time, grab a quick night's sleep in a strange motel bed.
I can see some romance in it though. I would miss Husband way too much to ever hit the road like that without him, but the idea of driving on and on, all alone with my thoughts, is kind of appealing. There is so much to see in the world, and I keep saying I'll get out there to see it one of these days, but I never have the time. If this was my job, that is all I would have: time to drive and look and think. Interstate just looks like interstate, but there is life happening just off the sides, always.
I guess it is the illusion of freedom that appeals to me, but I am smart enough to know that it is just that: an illusion. That is why we say, "Keep on truckin'," after all. No matter what happens, they have to get where they're going, intact, and do it on time.
I could see a story in that. Maybe you can, too. Imagine you're the one in the driver's seat. You're high off the ground, the biggest thing on the road. You're controlled; you have to be. Those tiny cars just keep zooming around you like a swarm of gnats, and it is your job not to squish them. You're tired, your eyes are dry. There's a cramp in your neck. The cab of the truck smells like onions. You want a hot shower in your very own bathroom more than just about anything, but there's no use worrying about that. You've got a job to do.
Your trailer is special. This isn't just another load of Florida oranges coming up for a high school fundraising sale. This load, you're told, means something. You don't know what it is, and the boss isn't telling you. The rig is locked tight with a special combination lock, and you don't have the code. Whatever this is, it has to reach its destination, and it has to be there on time. They're waiting.
This is not a smooth run. You've lost a re-tread and your gas gauge doesn't seem to be working right. You hit a familiar truck stop to refuel, only to find it closed and boarded up. Then there's something about the way that State Trooper is tailing you that you just don't like.
Blue lights. Big surprise.
What's in the truck? Why is it so important? Where are you going? Where have you been? What's with all the bad luck, and is there a reason for it? Why does the cab smell like onions? Fill in the blanks and see where it takes you. Just make sure you reach your destination on time.