Twelve months ago, I accepted employment as a Tow Truck Driver slash Safety Patrol Driver. My job is diverse, and I spend approximately half of my time working as a First Responder. I enjoy helping people, so the opportunity to work side by side with The State Patrol, Local Law Enforcement, Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Services has been very rewarding. After more than 20 years of regretting not becoming a Paramedic, I’ve finally been able to squash some of those feelings.

I spend my days driving a tall truck on the Interstate Highway during rush hour. You may think, “so what, I get stuck in rush hour too.” Well, my job requires a certain level of [awareness]. I’m constantly scanning and observing my environment. When I find a vehicle parked on either shoulder, I hit my beacons and pull up behind the car or truck. It’s critical I position my truck in the same protective manner as a State Trooper. The goal is not to get smashed.

I would estimate the percentage of drivers using their cellphone while driving at nearly 100%. Everyone is either holding their phone, or using some sort of hands-free device. At least half of the drivers out there are texting while driving. I’m not exaggerating one tiny bit. By the way, a combination of following too closely and distracted driving cause nearly every accident I come across.

I’ve seen my share of alcohol and drug use on the highway. People drinking beer and mixed drinks. Smoking joints and hitting a bong. Smoking crack and meth pipes. Smoking dope on tinfoil [probably heroin]. I haven’t seen anyone shooting up while behind the wheel, but I have pulled up behind someone on the shoulder while they’re injecting. Wow, wanna get away?

I find quite a few stolen vehicles. Sometimes with the thief still behind the wheel. Every so often, I roll up while someone is burglarizing an abandoned car. No, I don’t get paid to give chase. I do enjoy watching them scrambling to get away though.

Last week I found myself confronted with a woman and her young daughter. The mother was obviously suffering from some form of mental illness. The scene lasted for more than one hour. In the end, she was arrested and the father picked up the child. Keep in mind, our First Responders deal with these situations on a daily basis. Blue Lives Do Matter. God Bless First Responders.

During the summer, it’s not uncommon to glance over and see more skin than expected. Because I’m not a creeper, so I don’t go out of my way to stare into a woman’s car. I know for a fact some truck drivers live for that stuff. Either way, spend enough time driving a tall vehicle and you’ll eventually see more than you expected. Things like, “maybe she was sleepy?” Those stories do really happen.

I’ve learned from experience to watch out for people peeing behind their vehicle. Awareness is critical when it comes to not pulling over behind a driver who’s simply relieving themselves. Particularly when a parent is supervising a child in this situation. As a parent, I’d be slightly pissed off [no pun] if some dude pulled up directly behind my car while my kid is peeing. Restrooms were difficult to find during the shutdown.

Last year during my first few weeks on the job, something tragic happened. Well, it’s only tragic because my wife is going to smack me when she reads this. Well, I parked behind a small car down by Castle Rock. The windows were tinted, so I couldn’t tell if the driver had any idea I was standing outside the car door. As I stepped in front of the windshield, I looked inside the vehicle. The woman was wearing a mini skirt with nothing underneath. I quickly stepped back to the door and tapped on the window. I’m not sure if she ever knew what happened. With all of the gender identity mental illness going on in the world, I was very relieved she didn’t have a weiner. Unlike one of the residents who lives in my Sober House, I do not want to see any weiners besides my weiner. That story will be my next posting.

I could spend the day writing about my life on the highway, but I’ll cut it off here. Thanks for reading, everyone.

Joseph Shanklin

October 2, 2021

2 thoughts on “Seeing It All At Work

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