Tuesday 15 July 2008

Breaker 1.9, this here's the Rubber Duck

One of the great childhood summer traditions in our not-so-leafy Dublin suburb was standing beside the main road for hours on end, chewing like grizzled cowboys on the stems of long blades of grass, making the ubiquitous "Honk! Honk!" gestures at the trucks thundering to and from the roadstone quarry. Looking back, we derived a disproportionate amount of joy from the simple act of a driver tootling his* horn at us. (He wasn't tootling that horn - they were truck drivers, not priests).

Only once did we deviate from the standard practice. It was on a scorchio Sunday afternoon when a burst water main caused the tarmac to bubble, forming a large bump in the road. That day we waved at all passing vehicles. Some drivers waved back, some beeped - but we didn't care about those. No. Our interest lay with the ones we succeeded in distracting just enough to ensure they didn't see the newly formed bump. Heads collided with windows, drinks were spilled and at least 2 ice cream cones were upended (one into the passenger's lap and the second into their face). Oh how we laughed. The uproar drawing the girls (who were normally far too sophisticated for such childish pursuits) and some teenagers (who had long since left their honking days behind them) into our impromptu game.

Yet as much as I watched the trucks rolling past day after day, for as much as I cheered when a driver would cede to our immature requests I never once entertained the idea of wanting to be a truck driver when I grew up. By this stage I'd considered careers as a fireman, pilot and formula 1 driver - but truck driver never figured. This was probably due to the fact that me and long distance journeys just didn't mix. Each year when Mammy and Daddy Ambassador piled us and the medicine cabinet (Mammy Ambassador can never be too sure) into the car for our annual holiday to Cork/Kerry (it was the 80s, the country was mid recession and affordable air travel was some years off), we would have just passed Naas when I would enquire from the back seat if we were "nearly there yet?". If I couldn't bear a long distance journey twice a year (well we had to come back from holiday too), what chance did I have of doing one every day?

Maybe driving a truck long distance pays reasonably well - I've never checked - and I'm sure for some people driving a great big truck with just your thoughts and the radio for company is a dream job. As occupations go though, one has to imagine it can at times be a pretty lonely one. Lonely enough, I'd imagine, to warrant engaging in the odd ménage à un from time to time - which is probably why the cabs of trucks often have posters and images of women in varying states of undress.

This morning however, I passed a truck that had a picture of a naked woman painted on the outside of the truck, behind the cab. That baffled me - the driver can't see it when he's driving, he can't see it when he's chowing down on a hard earned breakfast roll and he can't see it when he pulls the covers up over him to get some shut eye at night. I'm not quite sure what the purpose of it is - but I had this image of the driver climbing from his cab onto the back of the truck to engage in a little self love.

An exhibitionist perhaps?

* I don't mean to appear sexist - but we never saw any female truckers. Plus the "tootling his horn" joke wouldn't have worked as well. (Maybe it didn't work at all - I don't know)

1 comment:

Caro said...

I went through a phase of wanting to be a truck driver when I was small. I think it was just cos someone said a girl couldn't be one.

That and getting the fuck out of Dodge. In a Dodge. See what I did there? (They did make those big trucks didn't they?)