Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rainy day in Romulus

I gotta love my smart phone. I'm parked in an industrial park and it let me know about this library only .2 miles away. I am in Romulus, Michigan, a south suburb of Detroit. And it is a cold, rainy, miserable October day. Two days ago I was in North Carolina sunshine and 80 degrees, an entire season's remove from today.

I'm 24 days into a 30 day tour, and its been the roughest so far. I spent 5 days in the New York City area recently. A whole host of problems assailed me: awful traffic, shipping locations in difficult-to-get-to locales, tough, tight docking situations, the sewer stench of New Jersey, having to do a U-turn in Waterbury, CT, during Friday rush hour, because my computer navigation tried to lead me under a low bridge, and navigating through an India festival/market on a busy Saturday morning. Those five days left me feeling anxious and each day began with nervousness and a tight stomach. I felt so foolish, having faced so many other daunting challenges. Why does driving a semi truck through the largest metropolitan area in the country seem to be too much? One part of me hopes I never go back. Another wants to go back, to face and vanquish my fears. But if I never see New Jersey or New York City again, I won't mind.

Truck driving has a high turnover rate for a reason. It is tough, all-involving work. Every day I wake up to the job. I can only drive 11 hours a day, but am often on duty up to 14 hours. And I feel as if my true talents are being wasted. I'm a writer, a researcher, a learner. What am I doing hauling stuff around the country? Whatever happened to following my bliss?

Nearly two years of unemployment has crippled some of those dreams. I need to get back on my feet financially. And even though this job often sucks, and being away from my family wrenches at my heart each day, it is a necessity right now, and it is doing what it is intended to do -- pay the bills.

I have to find soul satisfaction elsewhere. I'm still playing my guitar and writing creatively a little bit each day. I have more time to read and am enjoying slowly reading the works of George Eliot (in preparation, perhaps, for PhD studies in Victorian literature?). I climbed an Appalachian mountain in Virginia the other day and took a run in a beautiful stretch of rural Indiana another day. Seeing different public libraries is nice.

This job has its perks. I'm just feeling a little burned out right now. My fantasy is to go home, pack a bedroll, some food, and a couple books, and go camp in the woods somewhere with my family. I've got five days off coming up soon. The only thing planned is a Halloween Party. The rest will be spent in total relaxation.

And no driving!!!