No Wake-Up Calls

by | Aug 25, 2008 | Knight of the Road

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Posts by: Brian

Here I am at my first shipper after the week off, outside of Holcomb, Kansas, waiting. Packing plants are famous for making us wait, which is just one reason meat loads are so popular. And because I reside on the edge of what truckers call ‘the meat patch’ I can count on getting sent here to wait just about every time I come back on duty after time off. I got here at 3PM. IBP will not be late unless they keep me waiting past 11. In a gentler, kinder world, I could have gone on one more hike this morning before reporting for duty.

So I’m moving into my truck, organizing things, wishing I had more than the one actual drawer, and getting acquainted with this new laptop. Notebook. Whatever you call it. The one I’d been using was borrowed. It was quite used, which was fine except that I had to remember to hit the ‘K’ key extra hard and then check to see if a ‘k’ really showed up on the screen, and then sometimes after I hit it the key would get wedged partially under the ‘I.’ Fortunately the ‘K’ is a, if memory serves, 5-point letter in scrabble. Doesn’t come up all the time unless you’re writing about trucks. Oh, and the right-arrow key didn’t work at all. And the batteries were all but dead. And it required an external LAN antenna for those rare occasions I could find internet service, which antenna stuck out the back of the machine where I was always afraid of it getting broken, especially as back when it was still two to a broom closet I did most of my blogging and emailing with the computer balanced on my knees. Other than those minor issues it was great, and it was beaten-up enough that I didn’t feel bad about having it bounce around in the truck.

This new one, on the other hand . . . Let’s just say it’s the shiniest and most sophisticated piece of equipment in the cab. I feel as though I ought to wash my hands and change my clothes and maybe genuflect before opening it up. The keyboard is wonderful, and generally I hate laptop keyboards even when all the keys work as they’re supposed to. So writing these entries, the purely tactile part of it anyway, will be a pleasure. Getting them posted will remain the issue it has been, though I’m gradually learning my way around the world of access points. There are websites, of course, that tell you where to find free WiFi in your area, but it seems to me there’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg quandary there.

Anyway, lots of features and so on, this new computer has, that I currently have lots of time for delving into. Not to mention the current novel, which is also overdue for re-delving. I’ve got all the materials except for the books with me. Little enough space to spread it all out the way I like, but maybe that’s all for the better. Lots of notes and things for me to re-familiarize myself with, while I’m waiting here.

Normally when you’re waiting to bump a dock you listen for your truck number on the CB. The yard will have a sign letting you know which channel to monitor. If you don’t care to have the CB squawking at you while you’re trying to read or nap or what have you, some of them will call you on your cellphone, or send someone to pound on your door. The IBP plant here in Holcomb uses a proprietary system; they don’t contact you by any means at all. They have a phone number, and you may call them as often as you wish. As they are quick to tell you when you check in at the guard shack, they don’t do wake-up calls.