I'm sitting outside, sipping a piping hot cup of coffee on a dark cloudless night. As I write this, I reflect back to an article I wrote a number of years ago. That article spoke to the decline of standards. Not any one specific standard, but those of all society. How in general, there has been a steady downward trend in how people have allowed things in life, once held dear, to slip into an abyss of sorts.
It got me thinking about how essential services such as the military, police, firefighters, and paramedics are the quintessential services. When things go bad, they stay on shift to protect our society. I have never taken that service for granted. My thought that truck drivers should be considered an essential service in times of crisis has now become part of reality as they are keeping the country running at the bare minimum. The outcry from locals who understand that trucks are what keep essentials on shelves, i.e. food and medicine, has established that limited and - albeit temporary - protocol.
It wasn't until the plight of drivers was noticed as businesses and rest areas that truckers find essential to them were closing or limiting access. Drive-thru service became the only access, and professional drivers were turned away because they weren't in a vehicle. With these turns of events, people began to realize that our nation's truckers were at risk of not being able to perform their jobs. This meant that they wouldn't get to spend hours in line-ups to purchase, the increasingly difficult to find, little white rolls of dignity. Those line-ups are just one example of that decline of standards I mentioned.
There is a disappointingly interesting point that most truck drivers are already privy too. But for those of you who aren't privy, I'll give you this tidbit.
For the most part, professional drivers are appreciated only when what they are carrying is needed. Otherwise, they are considered a hindrance to the general population. Always in the way, slowing down traffic, closing roads while they negotiate a difficult entrance to an offloading dock. You get the idea.
A bunch of Zeroes
But for the past month, with the ridiculous Armageddon style onset of hoarding, truckers are being regarded as Heroes. And they, like the above mentioned first responders, are doing what they have always been doing - serving the people of our communities - the same people who shunned their very existence only weeks before.
And this pandemic, like all pandemics preceding, will pass. Life will return to normal and good deeds done by those who sacrificed shall be forgotten by most. The highways will once again become the lonely ribbons of blacktop they were. And our recently acclaimed Heroes will be relegated to their former pandemic status of the Zero.
But alas, the spirit of the over the road trucker won't be squashed by negativity because the professional driver has diesel coursing through their blood. And that bloodline has transcended generations. From the horse and mule teamsters of the 1800s to the present day driver in the cab of a conventional or cabover tractor trailer. They will persevere through extreme heat, rain, sleet, hail, blizzards, global pandemics, and yes, being treated like cannon fodder by the masses.