08 November 2006

Follow the Yellow Striped Road!

Driving a truck is no small affair.

Four weeks of truck driving school in Chicago to get my CDL. Then two weeks in Green Bay, Wisconsin at Schneider National's Training Academy. Now I'm back in IL, and not far from Chicago, so I can get home more often than some people do at this training stage.

What I'm doing now is "studying" under a "Training Engineer". I do the driving (in his truck), and he critiques my form, while (hopefully) giving pointers on what to do that would be better. Apparently there aren't quite enough Training Engineers (or T.E.'s) to go around. There were more than 60 people in my class in Green Bay, so thats a lot of new people needing TE tutelage. Add to that a similar number every week for other Training Academy classes.

While I do now have a TE, its something less than I imagined. There is one other student that has been with him for a week or so. "Shared" tutelage isn't a terrible thing, but its not going to get me out on the road making mileage-based pay any sooner. As I said, it's his truck, he has a regular schedule of pick-ups and deliveries of his own, and I'm along for the training. The other (possibly crucuial) difference is that he is dedicated to carrying freight for a particular retailer, and I am slated for OTR driving (Over The Road, otherwise known as "long-haul" driving). He does from one to three deliveries to branch locations on weekdays, gets to go home every night, and even has at least part of the weekends off, whereas I'll be sleeping in my truck most of the time. [In a future version of me, where they have given me my own truck]

This is going to be it for now. That's the pithy information. Hopefully I'll score a suitable laptop for getting Wi-Fi from the truck. But that's looking like it may be at least a month away from now.

Speaking of which, November is (as per usual) National Novel Writing Month. Last year I failed to finish, reaching only about 6000 words instead of the 50000 minimum. That failure was precipitated by two factors. One; my 60-hour per week job was monopolizing my time. Two; the story needed (and still needs) much more cultural research. This year, again I have work issues, but it is work-training, which may not make any difference at all. However, the story does not require research of any kind as has a vague setting. Since there is a Dryad that comes into play, I suppose I have to call it a fantasy. It's a story that occurred to memore than a year ago. I intended not to write it at all because the key event in the opening chapter is ... not pretty. I imagine that I am telling myself that I can write around that until such a time as I am comfortable with it. That could be never, but I don't have any other "hot" stories that are ready to be committed to hardcopy at this time.