I’m walking to the station, through a tree’d backstreet that leads past the brewery, and I see traffic backed-up.
First, you should know, this is a beautiful autumn afternoon. It’s important because the still, warm day with its softer sunlight is already making me unreasonably happy. So, when I get around the corner, I don’t mind waiting on the sidewalk for the problem to resolve itself – there’s no bitter, sniping little wind chasing me into the subway.
What is the problem? A massive 2-trailer rig is waiting to turn into the brewery gates, and the six cars backed-up behind him are clearly feeling that this is the Armageddon of traffic: hooting, pulling out to try and get around, and generally behaving as if their lives are ending. The rig-driver and I can see why he’s waiting: there are cars coming around the corner, from the other direction, and he’s protecting the impatient. As they come into view, the jostling cars grumble back into line. Then the coast is clear, and I see the lovely thing.
The Lovely Thing
The driver takes his rig, a beautiful horse and two massive trailers – one of those that move in near-silence, until you hear the sssssSSSSsss of the airbrakes – way past the gates. Then he starts a slow-arcing left-turn, but the angle looks as if he’s going to hit the wall. But, this is a driver with wisdom and panache. At the last minute, his cab lines up and the trailers curve in behind him, pulling a dead-straight line through the gates.
And it makes me happy. I love rigs; I have so much time for these long-haul heroes who keep most of life as we know it going. Sure, I’ve seen some reckless truckers, but mostly they’re the soul of kind patience on the long road. So many trips, me riding shotgun to dispense snacks, select music and count the kilometres, I make a game out of getting the driver to flash a “thank you” to every truck that pulls over to let us pass – and 9.5 out of ten do. I can’t count the amount of times a massive rig has held the line when he could see traffic coming that we couldn’t, and then pulled over, with an “it’s OK, you can pass” flash when it’s safe.
So, it made me happy. Because it’s beautiful to see skills. A huge metal dragon with impeccable manners, and its rider.
Some more facts about semis/rigs: https://truckersreport.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/20-insane-but-true-things-about-18-wheelers/