Not My Business?
Copyright Sandy Long
My ol’ granny used to say that anything did not affect you directly was not your business. Sound advice on the surface, but identifying what affects a person directly or does not can be a hard thing to do.
One’s neighbor beats his wife and children. While that does not affect one directly, would not a caring person try to help, making it their business?
A person sees someone commit a crime…say vandalism. That does not affect the person directly, but shouldn’t that person make it their business and report it?
A car flips over on the interstate ahead of you not coming anywhere near you; the road is clear. Do you continue to drive on by or do you make it your business and stop to see if you can help?
You do not drink alcohol. The state you live in wants to prohibit anyone from drinking alcohol which does not affect you directly, but you think it ok for others to choose to have a drink. Do you support the bill or not support it making it your business or do you just ignore it?
A long time ago truckers were thought to be the safest drivers on the road. We were always there when someone needed help and were not feared by anyone. These days we are considered by the public we serve as being unsafe, stupid and are feared by a great segment of the population. This loss of image has resulted in our being over regulated and maintaining our licenses is costing more and more every day along with increases in fines and laws against us.
There are several factors in the destruction of our image, but in my opinion how some of us act and appear these days is the greatest negative factor in the bad image we have with the general public. Because this negative image directly affects me as a trucker because of increased regulations, fines and costs along with how I am treated, I have made how some act or appear my business.
On a personal level, I could give a rat’s patoot about how anyone dresses while they are home or away from the truck or trucking venues. When I am home, I run around town in old holey jeans and t-shirts and sometimes I step outside of my house in my robe and fuzzy slippers to let the dog out or to take a bag of trash to the trash can. I even might not comb my hair all day if I am not going to town. My mother has said that I look like a bag lady when I am home; she is mostly right.
However, when I am on the road, working representing my brother and sister drivers and the trucking industry, I am at least neat and clean. Do not think that I wear designer clothes or shoes or even take a shower every day; I do not. I wear jeans without holes, work shirts or non-wrinkled t-shirts and moccasins; my hair is combed, my teeth are brushed and my hands are clean. If I am laid over somewhere, I wear track pants in the truck and might, if I am not on the front row in front of God and everybody, take the dog to the grass wearing them; never into the view of the general public because I know they are watching and judging us.
Something that has gotten so common for me that I rarely think about it was brought up by a friend in the last couple of weeks. That is what one hears when one is in a truck stop or service plaza from non truckers. My friend was standing in line at a Pilot truck stop and the lady behind her was heard to say, “I don’t know why they let THOSE people in here!”
My friend turned around and asked her who she was referring to. The lady replied, “Why those truck drivers of course. They are such dirty, nasty people!”
Of course my friend being who she is told the lady pretty quick about how important THOSE people were to the health and well being of the lady and her family and friends; but my friend was taken aback by the comment once again; because it was not the first time she had heard it.
I hear a lot of drivers complaining because they are not allowed to use the bathrooms at warehouses and other places we deliver or pickup…every wonder why we are not allowed in those places? It is because how some of us act; period. Truckers have written on the walls, urinated on the floor or worse, and some have even torn the sinks and toilets off the walls or broken mirrors. Hell, looking at some of the drivers and listening to how they talk out there today I wouldn’t want them to use my bathroom either! You think that woman working in that office wants to unlock her door to allow someone thru to the restrooms that looks like a gang member or homeless person or who uses F bombs every other word? I don’t think so.
Getting treated with respect seems to have become a buzz word topic lately by some; especially women truckers. Let us be logical here for a minute; what is the first thing a person sees when you walk in the door? Uh, excuse me; YOU! Now I am sorry, but it is human nature to judge a person by appearances and that is not going to change. So let us look at these scenarios.
A woman goes into a shippers’ and is dressed like a crack whore with brown missing teeth, matted hair, smells like rotten eggs and whines around expecting special treatment. She gives the shipping clerk a hard way to go. 5 minutes later, I walk in. The clerk looks up and sees another woman walking in even though I am dressed neatly and smiling he/she is thinking, “oh shit, not another one!” Human nature.
A woman gets out of her truck on the fuel islands wearing a skirt. She bends over and has on no underwear; drivers stop to stare. Do you think that those drivers are going to give her any respect, or you for that matter? Nope, they are going to be wondering if you have your panties on…again, human nature.
A woman in the last year down in Alabama was at a meeting about a city putting in an intermodal yard near her neighborhood. The local paper reported that the woman said in a panic, “but my children won’t be safe at school with all of THOSE truckers around; they will steal my children!!!”
Again, let’s apply a little logic; do you think her thoughts might be because she has seen some trucker with his Johnson hanging out of the bottom of his shorts or that looks like some sort of gang banger or pervert? I have seen those types, she could have too, while I understand the diversity of trucker’s appearance, she does not so she is scared of us. It is human nature folks.
You have to remember that it is the general public that pushes politicians to pass laws and make regulations; how we appear to them motivates them to leave us alone or to be afraid of us. Their fear causes us more regulations, higher fines and more laws governing where we park and drive. Look in the mirror though and take a good look at yourself; would you like your son or daughter dating you or would you like to meet yourself on a dark and lonely sidewalk at night? If not, then you should make it your business to take steps to improve your image.
Personally, if you want to run around in pink fuzzy jammie bottoms and pink fuzzy slippers in the public’s view and act like an ass, knock yourself out, but do not ever think it is not my business because as I have pointed out in this article, it directly affects me and the trucking industry that feeds me. I consider those who dress or act unprofessionally as part of the problems we face as truckers and I will continue to make it my business to point it out.