Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fargo - You Betcha

In May, 2003, I got a load assignment I thought I’d never see. It was a load of air conditioners going to Moorehead City, Minnesota and Fargo, ND. Air conditioners in Fargo? What’s next? Heat pumps to Miami?

I dropped all the AC units off and got another load assignment almost immediately. Pick up mustard spice in Grand Forks, ND, about 90 miles north of Fargo, and deliver it to Buffalo, NY. The pickup was scheduled for the following morning.

My pickup was at 0800, and I arrived at 0715. I pulled into the spice company’s lot, set my brakes and went inside. A production worker informed me that no one from shipping arrived until 0800. I went back out to my truck, finished my log entries and decided to turn my truck around so that I could line up with their docks.

I started to pull forward through their asphalt lot and noticed a puddle in front of me. “No problem,” I thought. “There are tire tracks through it.” BIG FUCKING MISTAKE! I don’t know how whatever made those tracks got through that “puddle”, but as soon as I hit it, the front of my tractor sank in up to its front axel. I couldn’t go forward because my fuel tanks were within an inch of the pavement, and I couldn’t go backward because the wall of the hole was straight up and down.

I sat there for about 15 minutes until employees started arriving. I felt like an idiot sitting in my swallowed tractor while these dick-heads were walking by, pointing and laughing. I finally went inside to the shipping office where there was a phone I could use. I called our road service department and got put on the normal 30-minute hold. While I was waiting for a human to pick up the phone, the shipping manager came in.

“How long you gonna be on the phone? I need to use it,” were the first words out of his mouth.

“As soon as someone from road service picks up, I’ll be off,” I replied. “Y’know,” he bellowed, “you’re blockin’ my parkin’ spaces out there, doncha?”

“Bud,” I replied in as civil a tone as I could muster, “if I could move that son-of-a-bitch I would – but I can’t. So, I guess we’ll both need to deal with it for now.”

He stormed out of his office and, I guess, found another phone. Well, he stormed as much as any fat man who walks as if he has a pencil stuck up his ass can. For the next 30 minutes that I was on hold, he never again mentioned that he needed to make a call.

As it turned out, I was on hold longer that it took to get a wrecker to me. After I hung up, I walked outside, smoked a cigarette and the tow truck was there. He hooked up under my bumper, lifted my tractor while I pulled forward slowly with my wheels cranked hard to the right, and he set me down – right beside the hole.

As he was unhooking all his cables he said, “Y’know I pulled a car out of this same damned hole last week. You’d think they’d rope it off or something instead of just fillin’ it in with dirt.” Within an hour, I was loaded and sealed – headed for Buffalo. I hope my company charged those dick-heads for the tow truck.



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