High-above I-5, Seattle, Washington
Monday everything changes. It’s all new.
Wednesday was the Vancouver launch of I Feel Great About My Hands: And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging where editor Shari Graydon, five contributors and I read excerpts from our essays.
One of the exasperating, yet sometimes comical effects of aging is the easily distracted memory.
Settling in on the plane — in my surprise upgrade to Economy Plus with extra legroom, must have been the 50-ish woman at United check-in who saw a kindred soul — bound for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to meet McGyver and the truck, I was congratulating myself for remembering EVERYTHING.
Six pairs of glasses, including four expensive pairs with progressive lenses, two of them, essential for driving, my laptop, the power cord, my cellphone, the power cord, my iPod — the same iPod that I found in my purse on the trip, after McGyver spent an hour-and-a-half searching the truck for it — the power cord, my vitamins, supplements, glucosamine sulphate powder to stave off the onset of osteo-arthritis in my lower spine so I can continue to drive, wild fish oil with its Omega 3s, Complex B to relax my extremely tight internal spring and Vitamin D. My passports, Nexus card, credit cards, Canadian and American wallets, my Commercial Driver’s license, truck shoes, mouthguard and the necessary pieces of my Eileen Fisher civilian wardrobe, jeans, tunic top, camisole and cowl-necked sweater, the shawl McGyver brought me from Bolivia years ago and all my sentimental jewelery. Everything else, I now view as expendable. Nice but replaceable at TJMaxx or Target.
Leaning back into the hollow of my window seat, I felt my lower spine sink against the well-worn seat — F@$%!*&#ing Hell!! — my $40, inflatable, Relax-the-Back cushion is IN the rental car. I forgot it. More Nomad Tax.
The Hertz attendant said: “Make sure you have all your personal belongs.” I remembered the GPS and the power cord, I took all the sunglasses, I even cleaned the junk, empty water bottles and Starbucks sleeves out the car. I looked inside. I must have looked directly at it, it was dark, I turned around — I really had to pee — grabbed the receipt, my suitcase and totebag and headed at a gallop to the terminal. Arrrrgh!
Watching the snowcapped Olympic mountains as we head south, I can’t figure out what’s worse, losing the cushion, which we both use and like, and having to invest the time to find another one, it probably won’t be easy, and pay $40 or having to tell McGyver that I lost the cushion and sentence myself to several weeks of reminders about everything so I don’t forget.
My cushion aside, the Bose driver’s seat is installed with lumbar support and I have another lumbar roll in the truck, I am heading back to the truck with a sense of excitement and trepidation.
Monday morning we will be in Uniontown, Ohio, near Akron, for orientation with FedEx Custom Critical. Everything will be different, not just the logo on the door. Another steep learning curve. One of the big challenges is that FedEx Custom Critical has no terminals. We will be assigned a trailer, which will be with us all the time, while we are waiting on a load, when we go to a grocery store, when we go to the shop for maintenance, all the time. No more bobtailing. We will always be looking for parking for our seven-story building.
The freight lanes will be different, the customers will be different, there will be new truckstops to learn. The grocery stores will change. Everywhere we go, we will have to decide if the parking has enough room to turn a 53 foot trailer. Our trucking mentors Salena and Eddie squeeze their Big House and 48 foot flatbed trailer into restaurant lots and shopping malls. They are fearless.
With the expedited freight, requiring personal attention, we are expecting to run fewer miles and see higher freight rates and have more time to stop and enjoy the sights. We have our list stops. There’s the pullout at Walker Lake north of the Amergosa desert in Nevada on the way from Las Vegas to Reno. We’re hoping see Marfa, Texas again — the only town of 2,000 which has had a page of restaurant reviews in the New York Times — and enjoy the Food Shark mobile Mediterranean kitchen, the lamb was yummy. We’re hoping for loads to Canada, beyond Toronto, northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and maybe the Yukon.
Next week, the wheels will be turnin’ again, we need to be earnin’.
P.S. When I told McGyver about the lost back cushion, I asked him, “don’t say anything, please don’t say anything, I know, I know, don’t say anything, okay?” Ah, he couldn’t resist. “So much for the discount I found on the rental car,” he mumbled.