the spirit of norðrljós can hear you call it’s name, and often answers
its been a while
I found myself at a baby shower this weekend where I was instructed to write parenting advice on a notecard.
For the few astute watchers who may have noticed I’m no longer getting images over the hood of a maroon Freightliner, here’s the reason.
I bought a Kenworth this week, leased on to a good outfit, and I’m hauling equipment now. My ears are still a little short till I get my antennas changed and the radio retuned, but you can still catch me listening on 19. As always, you can call me Nomad and I’ll shout back if I hear you.
i want a book where the narrator speaks in beautiful language but then the characters talk like super informally like “as ignatius attempted to reclaim his breath, he let out a straggled noise allowing his struggle to be heard, thus inciting maria to speak. ‘yo wheezy, shut the fuck up,’ her silky voice broke the tension.”
Most people. They don’t understand.
There’s this image put forth by the trucking industry. The professional driver, the smiling man with the wife and kids who goes home to his family every weekend. The kids get good grades and the family stays together. Sure, there are some of those.
Then there’s the guy who has no other choice. He has no skills and no money and trucking was his last chance. His children have no father because he is gone for months at a time. His wife is probably cheating on him because for the same reason she is desperate and lonely. His life is falling apart and all he can do is send checks home while wishing it didn’t have to be this way.
There’s the loving couples, husband and wife or team runners with no kids to worry about. Living in a truck, desperately in love and seeing the whole continent. They travel, they love, their lives are bound to one another and they live the industry together. Strong.
There’s a hundred different kinds, maybe more. The romantics, the cowboys, the day runners, the couples, the divorcees, the desperate family man trying to hold it together. Everybody has heard of them. The ones just trying to make an honest living. But there’s this one kind, the kind that don’t like to be talked about. The kind that don’t like to talk about themselves. The kind who nobody really mentions very often. The kind who never raises their hand. The kind who have no other choice, but for reasons only they understand.
We get called a lot of things. Loners. Drifters. Gypsies (which is false and insulting, because the Roma are a whole culture and the word is also insulting to them). Have you ever heard the song lyrics “Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Don’t let them pick guitars or drive them `ol trucks.” It’s god damned good advice. We are people that you don’t want to know. We don’t want you to want to know us. We will be your friend, we will smile and laugh, there will be good times and you we will know everything about each other.
There is something wrong with us. With me. I won’t generalize all others, because while we fit in a group we are not all identical. There is something wrong with me, and probably many like me. We cannot stop. We cannot have a home. We cannot stay there. The only way we can have a stable home is if we stay away from it for long periods of time, so it feels foreign and refreshing when we arrive. Anything that becomes comfortable and familiar, anything which feels even remotely routine causes absolute revulsion. We have to move, we have to run. The familiar, the comfortable, the routine. They’re terrifying. We cannot allow ourselves to become comfortable, because if we do we quickly become destructive to ourselves. We self destruct. We rot from the inside. A week at home is enough to drive us to the edge of suicide, and it requires no pressure from the outside world. The walls close in. We have to go. We never say goodbye, because we know we will be back. We just don’t know when. If you don’t say goodbye, there is no pain when you separate.
We cannot allow ourselves to be loved. Don’t misunderstand. We know love. We have been loved and we have loved others, but we can’t let it happen. Love is risky. Love will tie us down, it will hold us in one place. We know that if we love then we will be tied down and when we are tied down we will go mad, and when we go mad we will damage the one we love until we break free because freedom is survival. We cannot breathe unless we are lonely. We cannot speak unless we are lonely. To be lonesome, to feel the raw coldness of the universe upon your nerves. To know that you will live and die unknown and ultimately forgotten, to know with complete assurance that the universe will not even mark your passing. That your knowledge and experience will dissolve into nothingness and your very essence will fade into dissolution. It is the only way we know reality. To feel the coldness of the world upon your back is to be alive.
That is why we truck. We are alone. Us. One. Me. Me and a machine. My machine. I command my machine and I drift to wherever I may be paid the most handsomely. Pay is not a desire, riches are not a goal. Comfort and peace of mind are passing thoughts which I have never known and will never know. Pay is a statement. Look at me. Look at what these numbers say about me. My numbers are high, I am the very best at being alone. I am so excellent at being alone that I choose when I will be alone, where I will do it and for how long. I will be alone and I will prove to all the world that I am the single best at being alone, that I can make shitloads of numbers for my being alone. My numbers will be superior to your numbers and with them I will own and do things that will make you wish your numbers were like mine. I will be triumphant, because I will accomplish ten times in being alone what you could accomplish with your warmth and comfort.
I will have my great triumph in my accomplishment. I will begin to feel strong. I will begin to feel confident and powerful. I will have great strength and stability. Then I will take it all up in my hands, I will hold it close to my heart and I will celebrate it, and then I will throw it away. I will gather it up and cast it from my life, I will destroy it all. I will throw it all away because the only way I know is to be alone, to be cold, frightened and unsure. I cannot live if I am not alone and freezing, lonely, crying and insane. It is my curse and I will die with it, alone, in hopes that it follows me to my grave. So the curse dies with me.
After all that, you may wonder why I’m writing this. You see I’ve been in this house for seven days and I am losing my grip on reality. I spent all day driving around the countryside, wasting money I cannot afford to spend just to keep from coming completely unhinged. I will do it again tomorrow. I am screaming in my mind and falling apart. I have one more day until I travel again, one more day until I step out into the cold ferocity of the terrifying unknown. One more day and I can be alone again. Properly alone. Sleeping in some dark alley, parked in some abandoned lot. Clutching a gun and sure I may die any minute, it is the only way I can get any sleep. It is the only way I know how to breathe.