Originally posted February 8, 2008
I don’t know why I was so intent on finding contacts for my Blackberry messenger. I mean, I never even use AIM. I sign on once a month, maybe three times for the hell of it, but then I walk away and people send me messages saying things like “omg ur on??!?!!?!?!!” and “hi” with no punctuation and when something doesn’t have punctuation, I’m unsure how to read it. At least cap it off with an emoticon so I know what I’m dealing with.
If I sign on, my mom sends me YouTube links and spells lots of words wrong.
People have already taken me off their Blackberry contact list. For being a bad contact, I guess. A fair-weathered contact. I had this one guy, Brackett. He asked for a pic. “Got a pic?” he asked. I sent him one. He said I was hottt. Three t’s is flattering. That means he’s hoping I’ll ask about his cock-size. Or that he’s fifteen. I know these things lead to cybering, so I choose my words wisely. My cybering verve is rusty. He said he would send me a picture when he got home. He didn’t, not ever. We chatted semi-consistently for a week. Maybe two. The morning after game night, he hit me up and said, “Hey, how was the party?” A nice personal touch, I felt.
He has a friend who lives a few towns over from me. Said he felt like he should visit her sometime soon, she just had a baby. Maybe he could visit me too. I giggled and sent him a smiley, then laughed about it with my co-workers.
But then the week I was sick, I didn’t meet his needs, I suppose. Didn’t respond to his salutations with suitable speed and before I knew it, I was off his list. Blacklisted. Defriended. Banned.
Another one of my contacts goes by Renegade. He sends me daily jokes. I LOL so he knows I read them. They’re not funny though. I mean, I don’t even smile when I read them. Lately, Renegade has been trying to converse with me. “Mornin’ beautiful” he’ll say and I snicker because he doesn’t know what I look like. Mostly it takes me a day to reply.
Today he told me he’s a trucker and my thoughts on Renegade changed. He went from being That Lame Joke Guy to Awww, A Trucker. I like truckers. (Real ones, not posers like Henry.) Maybe it’s because my biological father was one. Maybe I like their hats and their rugged flannels flanked by padded vests. Maybe I like that whole sleazy stereotype of truckers with pork rind crumbs in their beards getting sucked off in the shadows of highway rest stops. They’re like warriors. Wheeled warriors trekking through an American wasteland, bandanna flapping in their wake, pile of Slim-Jims on the dash.
My grandparents had this Cadillac when I was a kid. It came attached with a CB. Mostly, none of the truckers would ever respond to me on it, but this one night, this one promising night on the way home from dinner at Blue Flame, I sat in the passenger seat, bogged down with frustration. I repeated all the things my Pappap told me to say that supposedly bait truckers, things that would make them think I was one of them. Lots of things like “10-4” and “I got your back door” and “plain wrapper up ahead” and other things I don’t remember because I was only five so back the fuck off. But on that night, someone finally took my bait. He was an old trucker named Sloppy Joe. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I bragged about it for days. OK, years.
When I’m on the road, on big scary highways, I panic when tractor trailers sandwich me. I panic when their large bulk forces my tiny car to sway and rock. But as I pass them, I look up into their window and with skilled determination I pull down on m invisible chain and then smile and squeal when they reward me with an air horn symphony.
I like flirting with them when I’m in the passenger seat. It’s the creamy center of road trips. You know who doesn’t like it when I flirt with truckers? Henry. Oh Lord, it pisses him off. He wised up after our first road trip and now tries to maintain a constant spot in the far right lane, so the only thing for me to flash my boobs at is the guard rail. Not that I partake in much flashing now that I have that kid. That might be kind of sick. Maybe in France it would be OK.
My friend Sergio once told me that if you treat truckers with respect, maybe you might let them slide on over into your lane when all the other four-wheelers are pointedly ignoring the turn signal, then that trucker will have your back and he might radio ahead to his other trucker friends sharing your stretch of the big road. They might just sandwich you when the bears are around. This has happened to me before, I’ve been taken under the wings of a convoy and it’s a proud feeling. Me, my Eagle Talon, and a fleet of 18-wheelers. Almost makes me want to bite off a hunk of jerky just thinking about it.
When we’re on our way to Columbus tomorrow, I’ll wave to all of the truckers, maybe offer them warm compresses at the Pickle Park, and then I’ll salute my friend Renegade, who just now told me that it’s OK that I don’t reply him to him right away, to take my time and that he’ll be there. Just like a true trucker.
: Pickle Park: – an interstate rest area frequented by prostitutes, for those not up with the trucker lexicon.