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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

The End of the Road

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 5/27/2024
Page Views: 294

My final months as a trucker were among the most difficult in my life. I loved being on the road, seeing new places, and meeting new people, but I couldn't afford to keep doing it. I also really missed being home with my family. I never got enough miles to actually pay my bills and support them. I also felt like Schneider didn't care about me or my career, considering they broke every promise they'd made me (and denied having made them, despite my contemporaneous notes). They also gave me fewer miles, less pay, and less respect. They clearly wanted me to quit, so they could get more training subsidies from the government.

Here are my final adventures on the road, before I finally had to turn in my keys and get back to a real life.

Back to Work

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/4/2003
Page Views: 2988
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
I couldn't take forever to recover. Well, I could have, but I didn't.

Today, however, according to my surgeon, I am ready to return to work. She actually saw me last Wednesday and made that pronouncement, based entirely on the condition of my stitches and not at all on how I might feel, which question she did not ask. She informed me she would fax a statement to the effect that I could start work the following Monday, which is today. She also noted that Robin, the Schneider Workman's Comp liaison, wouldn't even be in to work until today. Apparently, Robin's been on vacation. I found it interesting that Dr. Timbadia does so much surgery for Schneider Workman's Comp cases, that she knows the liaison's vacation schedule by heart.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/7/2003
Page Views: 3135
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
They said they havent been 'using' me enough. Funny, I'm feeling plenty used.

I made my delivery, on-time, at 4 AM in Signal Hill, California. The location would have been dreadful at any time, but especially so early. The loading docks were located under a roof, supported by iron I-beams. I had to navigate between the I-beams, which were barely wide enough for the trailer alone—but, of course, I had to do it with the doors open, which made the whole assembly even wider. Add to that, this was my first delivery in a new truck, and you have a recipe for disaster.

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A Little Gift

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/16/2003
Page Views: 3937
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Everyone needs a little something to brighten their day…especially homophobes.

The Pride flag, the six stripes of color, is actually a combination bumper sticker and postcard. The bumper sticker part is glued to the post card part. So, you can mail it to someone or stick it on your bumper. Gay people are nothing if not cleverly efficient.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/18/2003
Page Views: 261
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Apparently, I can be talked into anything.

Now, Jay has his own way of running his pod, Yancy continued, referring to Debbie's and my previous boss. I don't really know what he does. But, every morning, I check every message from every driver in the pod. That's Shawn's and, now, Debbie's. That means I will know what you are doing. And I'll make sure you get the miles.

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A Mediocre Week

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/19/2003
Page Views: 251
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
This was supposed to prove Yancy could get me more miles. Um, still waiting…

After my talk with Yancy, I was looking forward to a nice, long, haul. What I got was another trip to Phoenix. What's more, it was a load that ended with an appointment at 9 AM. It took so long to make the pick up at Kimberly Clark that I wound up spending the night at the Whitewater Rest Area, and making most of the drive in the very early morning hours. I got going at 4:30 AM and, at least, didn't have to deal with much traffic.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/24/2003
Page Views: 273
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
My truck is hit by another truck driver's daughter.

Awakening at 6:30 AM, it was easy for me to get my load to the consignee on time. It was an entire trailer full of tires, but fortunately I didn't have to unload them—the consignee had already arranged for lumpers to do that, which allowed me to go back to sleep while it happened. Usually I have to get permission to use lumpers; but the special instructions entry on my work assignment said that Michelin, the shipper, would pay for them. So, all I had to do was get a ComCheck number from Debbie for the $80 the lumpers requested.

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Tuck and Run

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/25/2003
Page Views: 300
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Truck driving is costing me an arm and a leg. But I met a guy who only lost an arm.

Unlike some of my fellow drivers, I hadn't always wanted to drive truck. In fact, I had come to this out of some degree of desperation, having been unemployed for over a year. I won't deny that there were many aspects of driving that I enjoyed very much. Mainly, it was the driving itself. Waiting at the loading docks, trying to locate customers with badly written or incorrect directions, struggling to communicate with mentally deficient dispatchers—these were not parts of the job that I enjoyed.

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Fallen Comrade

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 8/30/2003
Page Views: 250
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Why does it seem like Schneider doesn't want drivers to remain over a year?

Well, you know I've been working non-stop, he explained. I knew that; my friend had given up his apartment when he started working for Schneider and literally lived out of his truck. Well, I finally got a few days at home and some friends invited me to a party. There was a little pot there… It seems that my friend had been caught by a random pee test. The results had just come in, and he had been nailed.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/8/2003
Page Views: 245
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Just what I needed: A homophobic driving instructor.

As I was supposed to, I showed up at my truck at 6:00 AM with all my stuff. The first thing I did was a thorough pre-trip inspection. I had been warned that someone else might use the Richard Gear as a loaner while I was on vacation; and I discovered someone had. The truck had been driven about 300 miles since I had parked it.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 9/11/2003
Page Views: 266
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Yep, it's finally time to hit the brakes on this non-paying adventure.

He led the way to one of the conference rooms and we sat down. I've decided it's time, I said, feeling the relief of knowing I was doing the right thing. My year is up, and though you said you'd try to get me more miles, it hasn't happened. I really can't afford this anymore. So, I'm resigning.

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End Of The Road

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 11/21/2003
Page Views: 260
Topics: #18-Wheeler #TruckDriving #BigRigs #Schneider #TruckDriver
Taking a final look back at my year on the road.

I had received, from readers of this journal, lots of advice regarding my next trucking assignment. Many told me of specific companies, ones they now or previously worked for, that paid thirty cents or more per mile. Others advised I simply get a job driving truck locally. And more than one suggested I sue Schneider, for everything from sexual harassment to just plain being assholes.

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