Because she has this real ‘thing’ for blue-collar boys, Lily ‘Beanie Queen’ Malone interviewed her local truck driver, Walter, and discovered that being a good truckie requires much more than a blue singlet, a pie, a ciggie and a deep arse crack.
Lily: First things first. Do you own a blue singlet, and do you wear it whenever you’re driving your truck?
Walter: I do own one but I don’t wear it at work. I’m a company man these days you see and we have an image to uphold. The days of the truckie in wife-beater singlet, shorts and thongs have not quite disappeared but it is a lot less common than it used to be.
Lily: How big is your rig?
Walter: I do have a large rig!
Lily: What’s the best truckie joke you know?
Walter: Well there was a gynaecologist who was bored with his job and decided to change careers. He’d always enjoyed tinkering with engines in his spare time so decided to become a heavy vehicle mechanic and truck driver. His first assignment at trade school was to strip down a diesel engine to all its parts and reassemble and get it running again. He accomplished that with no problems and was amazed to get 150% on his exam. He asked how he could have got such a result and the lecturer said “that he awarded 50% for the disassembly and 50% to get it working again and he said I just had to give you another 50% for getting it all done through the exhaust pipe”
Sorry about that, just giving you an insight into roadside diners in the truckie’s lounge.
Lily: So this is hypothetical for all us authors: You’re driving at night and you’re in the middle of nowhere. You stop for fuel and a woman comes running toward your truck. She’s frightened. She’s pleading for help. Tell us her backstory? What’s she doing there?
Walter: Hopefully she’s just seen a cane toad in the ladies’ loo.
Lily: What’s the longest sentence you’ve ever heard a truck driver say, without swearing?
Lily: Have you ever worked with any female truckies? Do you think there should be more women in the truckie workplace? Why/Why not?
Walter: Yes I have. A few actually but only two from memory who I would let drive a truck that I owned. Saying that, I know a helluva a lot of blokes who I wouldn’t let anywhere near my truck or anything else I owned for that matter.
Lily: What are the traits of a good truckie?
Walter: Pride in your job, good concentration levels and a good work ethic.
And the ability to consume huge quantities of drugs to help you meet impossible deadlines while realising that you are going to get paid bugger all and be away from your family for three weeks to please some arsehole corporate type who thinks you are there to make him look good to his boss. That definitely helps.
Lily: What’s the most unusual thing that has happened to you on the job?
Walter: Nothing really out of the ordinary. But life in general is pretty strange and being on the road a lot you see some pretty strange stuff. Most of it though is marvelling at what people will do to get from point A to B with little or no regard for anyone else.
Lily: Who are the most unusual people you’ve met on the job?
Walter: People who drive trucks for a living, and talk about trucks, and take photos of trucks and generally just freak out about anything involving trucks. Oh and transport police.
Lily: Tell us a bit about truckie jargon. Do drivers really say “10:4 Big Buddy?”
Walter: No you’ve been watching too many Smokey and The Bandit movies.
Lily: Give us a few truckie codes you use when you’re on the road.
Walter: I struggle to understand a lot of the blokes on the radio and generally turn it off while I’m driving. “Is the barbie plate warm or cold” is a good one though. Which means is the weigh bridge open or closed?
Double bubble, camera car, dog box are all descriptions of various police cars and an Evil Knievel is a copper on a motorbike. A hairdryer is a stationary speed camera. Driving ‘bobtail’ means you drive the prime mover with no trailer attached.
Lily: How do truckies like to unwind after hauling trailers all day?
Walter: I like to unwind when I’m home by having nothing to do with work at all if possible. Nothing to do with the missus works well too. Only joking, she’ll kill me if you print that.
Lily: What do truckies dislike (i.e. it makes their job harder)?
Walter: Tight and sometimes impossible deadlines set by people who don’t understand transport. The bottom line is all they’re concerned about.
Lily: What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen on the road (by another driver)?
Walter: There is no one dumbest thing that I can think of, but driving trucks does give you a unique insight into the stupidity of humans once they are behind the wheel of a car. I was watching a show on television the other night about the accidents in Russia captured on people’s dash cams. I wish I’d seen a couple of those. One guy rode his motorbike into the back of a moving car and did a full somersault and landed standing up on the roof! I really wish I saw that one.
Lily: Which celebrity would you like to see cast as a romantic hero truck driver in a movie?
Walter: I don’t know about that. You would be better asking your female readers I think. Saying that, I think George Clooney is one smooth operator.
Lily: What do you think is sexy about a truck driver?
Walter: I struggle to see much sexiness in my everyday, I’m sorry to say. Maybe if more people took the time to realise what caring and sensitive souls we really are, then maybe... No, forget that, I think we just need more women truck drivers!