Ya Gotta Have Friends
Copyright Sandy Long
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.. It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival”
—C. S. Lewis
A couple of weeks ago as I was walking my dog in a rest area, I was approached by a lady driver. She was a relatively new driver that had been put in the position of a trainer by her company. The reason that she approached me was that she was lonely for conversation with another lady driver. After I had told her about my dog, she asked me why it was that almost all other women drivers she ran across were so standoffish. I didn’t have an answer for her, but it got me thinking about all the other women drivers I too had run across or passed who just looked at me as I smiled and waved a hello at them.
I wonder why it is? Friendliness doesn’t cost anything. It is perfectly safe if you wave at another driver going by. No one is going to yell at you if you smile. Nothing says you have to talk on the radio so it cannot be that someone is afraid of verbal harassment. Is it insecurity, or shyness, or arrogance? Do the other women drivers out here not need friends or even the little human contact that a smile and a wave impart?
“What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies”
Friends are a true gift. My best friend is also sister of my heart. We met in 1979 on the carnival circuit and she now lives with her husband in NC. I laugh whenever I see the joke paper that says: “A friend is someone you can call to come bail you out of jail when you do something stupid. A best friend is someone who is sitting in the cell with you“. Back in the day, when we were young and dumb, she and I had some crazy adventures. Now that we are in our 50’s, we stop each other from doing something stupid or crazy.
“Friendship? Yes Please.” Charles Dickens
Finding real friends is hard specially if you drive truck for a living because we are not home a lot to maintain that friendship. I am always hesitant to begin a new friendship with people of either gender if they are not drivers too. Our lifestyle and reputation is often misunderstood but in the explaining of our jobs, we get a chance to tell about how important trucking is, so it is worth the chance.
I have found that finding friends among other drivers at my own place of employment is not so good. Too many times there is competition amongst drivers at the same company and petty gossip abounds. If one is careful at first though, friendships can develop.
The internet provides some ways to find friends. I have made some very good friends from the trucking associations I belong to and from trucking groups. Some of these friends I have never met face to face, but have spent much time talking on the cell or emailing with them. The friendship starts because of the common interest in trucking, then expands into other areas of common interest.
“It’s the friends you can call up at 4 am that matter”
Maintaining friendships is much easier today than it was in the past. Cell phones and the internet make it easy to stay in communication with a friend and coordinate meetings for lunch or coffee when you can cross paths or get through town. One of my friends is so dedicated to being a good friend, that she will go to the near by truck stop in the middle of the night to have coffee and visit if one of her friends is coming through.
What makes a friend a good one? In my inner circle of friends, we are totally honest with each other, no holds barred. Say for instance I am thinking about doing something that they don’t agree with, they will tell me outright or if I have done something stupid, they don’t hesitate to give me a verbal slap up side the head. Of course I am that way with them too. If one of us is sad, the others are always there for us no matter what or for how long it takes to cheer us up again. We call if one of us is sick or going into dangerous weather or locales to make sure that friend is doing ok or needs help sent. We provide for each other support, a shoulder to cry on, an arm to help us up when we fall and unconditional love.
We are all alone until we accept our need for others”
Friends provide someone to talk to and help to relieve stress. Some current studies have shown that people who do not have friends and who isolate themselves have higher levels of stress and stress related health issues. This would make sense, because if you do not have someone to talk to when things go wrong, you would tend to internalize everything.
Starting a friendship can be as easy as a smile or a wave as another lady driver goes by or is next to you on the fuel island. We lady drivers have a lot to share with our sister drivers, knowledge, tips, emotional support and friendship; but the opening to do so has to be there. The next time you see another lady driver; nod, smile or wave…doesn’t cost anything and who knows, you might just find a sister of the heart to make your life better.
“Thus nature has no love for solitude, and always leans, as it were, on some support; and the sweetest support is found in the most intimate friendship.”
Ya’ll be safe out there!