By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/21/2020
Occurred: 7/25/2002
Topics/Keywords: #18-Wheeler #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver #TruckDriving Page Views: 258
Invisible wonders fail to inspire.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Today we drove all day—no classroom work at all. We spent the morning backing up, and the afternoon roaming the streets.

Yesterday evening, when we got back from our road work, one of the other students in my class commented he'd driven on the Interstate. Knowing how tricky the intersections are near the entrance ramps, I joked, "Deliberately?" But today we all did it.

We also pulled up to a spot facing a little mountain called Mt. Vernon, in the shadow of Big Bear. It was covered with little dirt roads, so when our instructor said we—that is, I—were going to drive up and down the mountain, I figured he meant we would be practicing on the dirt roads. So I took the wheel and climbed the mountain on a four lane highway, and I wasn't nervous because I was waiting for him to say something like, "Turn here," onto one of the dirt roads. Next thing I knew we were down the mountain! (In retrospect, it makes more sense to have done it on a highway like the ones I would normally drive.)

In the evening I tried to work on a web site, and did a little; but my roommate, David (with the sleep apnea), would not stop talking for a moment. He is getting baptized in his church this coming weekend, and he chattered on and on about it while he watched WWF Smackdown! on UPN.

It's not that he isn't an interesting person. He was born in Arkansas and spent part of his childhood going door-to-door with his brother, selling firewood they had chopped. That gave him an opportunity to see a night sky filled with stars, which he missed after he moved to California. However, one night, when he was dating the woman who became his second wife, the Santa Ana wind blew away the smog and they sat in his back yard, amazed at the glory spread out above. David began to point out constellations to her: The Big Dipper, Orion, and so on. She was amazed. "How did you learn all this?" she asked.

"In school," he said, matter of factly. "Didn't you?"

No. In Southern California, schools do not teach the constellations to their students. I suppose because the lights of Hollywood wash them out, and the smog normally obscures them.