Thursday, July 28, 2011

Of Cubs, Killers, and trucks

I write this post from the Markham, IL public library, which is just up the street from the trucking terminal I'm at today, near 167th St. and Kedzie. Now I know what it feels like to be a minority, a momentary sense of self-consciousness, but that's about it.

WUZZAT SPEL?: I just finished writing a letter to my mother, and I wonder, "Who writes letters anymore?" I'm glad Mom and I have an exchange of letters. I like their permanence and that, while writing them, you can devote all of your attention to the task. Whereas online one is distracted by so many other things. Also, handwriting is tactile. I wrote three pages and my wrist hurt. Yes, typing is tactile too, but not nearly as labor-intensive. It makes me sad to think that cursive is on its way out and may no longer being taught in public schools. I noticed this trend when I taught in Elgin. When I wrote in cursive on the board, many students couldn't understand it, so I had to resort to printing everything.

DO RE ME: Speaking of Elgin High School, a right fielder for the woeful Chicago Cubs, Kosuke Fukudome, was dealt to the Cleveland Indians this morning for two minor league prospects. While I was a teacher at this equally woeful high school, it made national news when an uber-Nazi hall monitor made a student remove her Fukudome jersey. The incident made national news headlines and the back pages of Sports Illustrated. He sure "did" the Cubs. While he was not a horrible player, he never really earned the high salary he was paid. Good riddance.

GRISLY COLD CASE: My son's hometown has been in the national news lately. In 1957, a 7-year-old girl was abducted from Sycamore and her body found the next April in Jo Daviess County. A suspect in the case, John Tessier (now Jack Daniel McCullough), had an alibi, that he was on a train from Rockford to Chicago for an Army physical. But in 2008 one of his former girlfriends found an unused train ticket from the date Ridulph was abducted, and turned it over to authorities. In 1983, McCullough was fired from a police department for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenage girl. He was arrested a month ago and extradited this week back to Sycamore. Ridulph's body was exhumed from Elmwood Cemetery to gather DNA evidence. There are many odd and grisly twists in this story, and it hits so close to home. Ridulph was abducted just a couple blocks away from where my son and his mother used to live, and her body was exhumed from a cemetery where we have gone on countless walks.

TRUCKIN' UPDATE: I try to post daily updates from the road on Twitter, and use the hashtag #cdlnewbie to mark those posts.

So far, everything is going well. I feel confident about all aspects of the job, except for backing up. I've driven in Chicago rush hour traffic, had a crop duster fly low right over me, seen lightning hit a street sign, so close I saw sparks fly from the impact, and been as far east as Zanesville, Ohio.

My trainer, Tolly, is from Texas, and we're getting along great. He's very patient and easygoing, plus he's really good at what he does. He said he wonders why us northerners don't speak proper English. "None of y'all say 'y'all' or 'fixin'." I'm learning a wealth of trucking wisdom from this 18-year veteran of the industry. So far, I've driven 42 hours. When I reach 75 hours, we can drive as a team and hope to get a long haul or two out west so I can get some mountain experience before I go solo. Going downhill with 65,000-plus pounds pushing on you can be a little tricky. Book knowledge is one okay, but you've really got to experience to know what it's like and how to handle it.

1 comment:

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