A road trip becomes a metaphor for trucking and America's COVID policy
I decided to take a solo road trip. It was an eye-opening trip because it made me very aware of our nation's truckers, the work they do, and how much we need them. Also, getting lost with no way to go but forward made me think about our government's COVID policy and its refusal to make a U-turn.
I am sick to the point of fury about the California BS on COVID. Being a second-class citizen without rights because I won't take a series of useless shots that have the potential to harm me for life, and that cause metabolic changes, cancer, heart disease, pulmonary embolisms, and more, all because a non compos mentis president demands it, infuriates me. Nor will I kowtow to the dictates of our evil California governor, who flaunts his specialness, flagrantly disobeying his own rules, thus proving them nonsensical. I will never, ever take the "vaccine." Period.
So, now, I can't eat out, go to any cultural events, or go to the gym — although I can shop because, you know, there's a limit to what people will take. So I can be cheek to jowl with others on a grocery aisle, but not exercise in the clean and spacious gym I attend or quietly contemplate the art in a museum or listen to live music. So I needed a "reality break." To go somewhere mandate-free. I picked Idaho. Make sense to you?
I have arrived at my destination, but the trip was a little nerve-wracking for a while there. A couple of days ago, I took a wrong turn in what was supposed to be a long but manageable six-hour second-day drive. Until then, everything was going okay. Minor annoyances, but nothing I couldn't deal with. I'm not used to hotel rooms that smell like ashtrays, but the trade-off was that casinos have cheap lodging prices, expecting guests (not me!) to drink and lose lots of money. It was only one night and broke up what was to be a drive totaling ten hours.
On Day Two, though, I took a wrong turn and didn't realize it. My six-hour drive suddenly became a ten-hour marathon, and even that left me two hours short of my destination. There was no turning back, either. All I could think was that there was a lack of satellite coverage in the middle of the Nevada desert, and my Google maps failed.
Image: Empty highway. Public domain.
I was stuck, contemplating how it must have been for the people who made a similar mistake in days of yore — you know, when they were in a wagon train. I had it good because I had a reliable car. However, there was no place to stop — just scrub brush and sand and some fierce wind, and truckers on the road. Lots and lots of truckers. I'd say a 10:1 ratio to cars.
The speed limit was 80, so that was good. I ate up the miles, stopped for gas, kept on keeping on. Sang along with the radio. Tried to get someplace before dark, because, yeah, I'm no longer young, and the eyes don't work as well at night. Not to mention, I'm not a trucker, and ten hours driving in one day is a lot.
The good news is that I had some help. I got my husband to research places to stay in my unexpected destination and pulled into a hotel parking lot before I hit the far end of my ability to function. By the time I got there, it was dark, starting to fog in, 20 degrees out, and I had just enough gas left to get to the station the next morning.
I learned some things about the world on that long drive. I had lots of time to contemplate the power of truckers. Seriously, think about how that Amazon package gets to you. Or that stuff you put in your grocery cart. Until the Canadian truckers started making some noise, I never thought about how many of them are out there, and how these guys, not the speed of the internet alone, make the world function. They are a powerful bloc! There are 3.5 million truckers in the USA. For contrast, think about this: there are only 1.34 million active-duty military personnel.
The other thing I thought a lot about was the act of plowing forward. I had no choice. I had to get somewhere safe. I had no other option. But plowing forward relentlessly is also what our government is doing on COVID policy. The government, though, has a choice.
We citizens have the right to expect some intelligence and ability to weigh facts from the people we elected. Instead, we get crass political manipulation for profit and self-aggrandizement from those holding the power to make decisions. No matter the harm to all of us that they are doing, they plow forward with a wrong-headed policy that kills people. To paraphrase that old movie saw, evil is as evil does.
Our politicians are trying to become gods, and they are, in a nutshell, false prophets. The only question is how long it will be before the bulk of our citizens get their heads out of the sand and realize this fact. And how many needless deaths we will have in the meantime.