He just keeps on trucking
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/05/2020 (1127 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The sun is still reaching for the sky as Alain Blair starts his workday, as always, with an inspection of his Peterbilt 18-wheeler.
“I check out the oil, all the fluids and tires, make sure my windows and mirrors are clean, have no air leaks, no nothing,” he says.
First stop this morning: Carman, where Blair will pick up a load of seed bound for a CN boxcar in Winnipeg. From there, well, he’ll just have to wait for word from his dispatcher. Blair’s next load could be anything from fresh produce to specialized machinery.
Blair, 68, has been driving a truck for more than 40 years, the last nine for Trappers Transport. His rig will be loaded and unloaded seven or eight times before his shift is over in about 12 hours.
Trucking can be a pretty solitary business at the best of times, add COVID-19 to the mix and the opportunities for social interaction are reduced to almost zero.
“It’s a big difference,” Blair says. “A lot of the places you go to you have to phone them to tell them you are there, because you aren’t allowed in the building. They tell you to put all the paperwork in the back of the trailer, back it into the (loading bay) and sit in the truck and wait.
“Once they’re done they put the signed paperwork in the back of the trailer and holler at you that you are good to go.
“Everywhere you go there are signs and you have to stay out.”
“Before, you could go anywhere, talk to anybody, and now you can’t,” he says. “Everywhere you go there are signs and you have to stay out.”
And when your office is your truck, and so many businesses around you are closed to in-person customers, finding a washroom can be… challenging.
“There are a few places where they have set up port-a-potties outside, but most places there is no access to washrooms,” Blair says. “You gotta go with the flow; it is what it is.”
At a time when there is a renewed appreciation for essential workers, including truck drivers and the jobs they do, Blair says his own attitude toward his work remains the same as it’s always been.
“I do it all the time, every day, so you just keep on doing it, that’s it,” he says.
“It’s my job, so I gotta do it, that’s the way I take it.”
— Dean Pritchard