Vancouver, British Columbia
Unexpectedly, this weekend, we found ourselves in our beloved hometown enjoying brilliant blue skies, snowcapped mountain peaks, vibrant pink cherry blossoms, in various stages of sun salutation, lining the avenues and armed with my new Starbucks Gold card.
Approaching the door at the Arbutus and 33rd location, tall non-fat latte in one hand, medium black Pike Place in the other, MacAir under my arm, sun streaming through the glass obscuring my view, mid-lean forward to push the door open and suddenly it pulls back. A white male, late 40s, bankster, broker, businessman, I don’t know, but affluent and educated, wearing Bermuda shorts, leather flipflops, a la Cole Haan, and a ball cap storms through the door brushing me aside.
Behind him, an elegant woman in her early 70s, silver-gray, chin-length bob, burnt orange wool swing coat, reaches out a black-leather gloved hand and grabs the door to prevent it from slamming in my face.
“I’m sorry,” she said apologetically, “I guess he wasn’t brought up that well.” Was he her son?
In four years of frequenting truck stops that has NEVER happened. I can still count on one hand the number of times I have opened my own door.
At a truck stop, the man who was sitting near the door would have jumped up and opened it, in Starbucks he barely looked at me.
Truck drivers wait for me so they can hold the door, if they catch a glimpse of me as they exit a door they turnaround, go back and hold the door. It may be that there are few women at truck stops, sometimes, I wonder if they think I’m a driver, or if I’ve lost my RV — shipper guy at our last pick up told me I looked like a schoolteacher and that it was a compliment — but overall I think it’s their standard procedure for women.
Old, young, black, Hispanic, white, pressed jeans, dirty beard, it doesn’t matter, truckers are well brought up by their mammas and the ones who aren’t must pick it up by association. The rudest behavior, no surprise, is the big city. But it’s the big city, big money, ivy league, New York, Wall Street, don’t-let-the-door-hit-your-ass-on-the-way-out and in laid-back Vancouver.
We are back at the truck, parked just south of the border, looking for loads. Friday morning we thought we had a good one, team load, Oregon to Kentucky. It evaporated.
The wheels ain’t been turnin’ for some time and we need to get earnin’, but since we had a brutal winter drive from San Francisco to the Okanagan region of British Columbia, through Washington state, we decided to stay the weekend and visit family in Vancouver.
While winter is MIA in most of the US, it’s presence was felt last week in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. It snowed giant flakes, big as saucers, reflecting in the headlights. We drove Washington 17 North from Moses Lake to Oroville to cross the border, through Canadian wine country into Summerland, then south on the Coquihalla to Vancouver and Blaine, Washington. We would have loved to stop for a Tim Horton’s coffee, a look around, but there is almost no place to stop and park a big truck in B.C. — drivers in Canada are heroes, roadways are small, signage is lacking, conditions are terrible and then there’s winter — so we returned to the U.S. as quickly as possible.
I was behind the wheel on 17 and it took two axles of chains — OnSpot auto chains, flip of a switch in the cab — to drive the 20 miles over the highest pass, clenching my teeth, gripping the steering wheel, virtually no visibility, no place to stop, because the road melted into the ditch without a shoulder, but thankfully no traffic, except for a couple bull haulers.
The snow stopped just before dawn, the clouds slowly burned off, leaving brilliant sunshine over Southern British Columbia for the weekend. The rain returns when we leave.