I guess Wheels had some setbacks, and Ab was just about ready to go, so I’m set back a week. I haven’t heard any complaints yet, but I also haven’t called out to announce that I’d be a week late. I hope it’s not a problem for them, but if it is, I guess we’ll be working somewhere else. It should be a really fun trip of driving, eating sandwiches and cans of stew, and farting. Mmmmm, I sure do love me some Irish stew. What with all the formed meat chunks and such. My favourite game is to try to guess which pieces are the mutton, mostly because I’ve never sat down to a meal of it, so I don’t have anything to compare it to.
I imagine that the trip should go fairly quickly, unless Ab is like Jake, and stays up while I drive, only to fall asleep 45 minutes after he takes over. Northern Ontario is gorgeous, so the first day will be good, but then we have Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the first half of Alberta to contend with. That’s a boring, flat expanse of terrain to drive through, and it can make you sleepy, if you drive through it at night. Usually I’ll stop in Winnipeg or Portage, if it’s dark, or getting dark when I get there. They have cheap rooms, and it’s about halfway or a little bit better, so I’m usually due for a shower and a good sleep. It might be different with two people sharing the wheel, but I think having a couple guys, and their winter work gear, crammed into a 99 Civic will probably be getting a little bit old by then.
Over the years I’ve driven this route probably twenty times in the fall and winter, and I’ve learned a couple things. One is that if you’re planning to get a room, do it before Alberta, they are almost twice as much, and two is that bad weather can happen at any time of the year, so be prepared to wait things out if it gets bad. I’ve had my share of plugging through blizzards, and have figured out that it’s not worth it at all. You go slow, and are extremely stressed out for the entire ride. You might as well wait it out at a truck stop, or coffee shop, until it lightens up, and the plows and sanders start moving. My step-dad always says “There’s no prize for being stupid. and except for that ‘Jersey Shore’ show, I’d say he’s pretty close to correct. I find it pretty hard to swallow the fact that you could get a room in the Super 8 in Portage, Manitoba for $79, with free soup at night, and breakfast in the morning, then you drive ten hours and pay $150 in a much older Super 8 in Vermilion, Alberta. They can charge that, because it’s in the oilfield, and the companies will pay it. I guess that’s the supply and demand thing at work. It’s the same in Fort St. John; all the rates go up when it’s busy, because they can get more money per room than in the spring or summer. I realize that there’s nothing I can do about that, but I also don’t have to pay it. I’d rather just rearrange my schedule to be able to stay somewhere else and save some money.
I am thinking back to a few years ago, and I was working for an outfit in Northern Ontario that did all kinds of farming, grain storage and trucking. I was getting $12 an hour and working about eighty hours a week if it was busy. I remember getting my first paycheque and it was a little over $700. I was outraged, so I went to the boss and asked him why they had forgotten to pay me my overtime. He responded with something about the labour laws not making farms pay the overtime. When I said I was a truck driver, not a farmer, he said that because the farm owns the trucking company, the law states that he doesn’t have to pay overtime, and there was nothing I could do about it. I mentioned that there was no law that insists that I work for him, and gave my two weeks notice. That was another example of supply and demand. He ran a business in an area where there were no jobs, so he could pay his workers a pittance of what they’re worth, because they had no other choice. I don’t think that people should have to work sixty hours a week, just to get by, and I don’t think that a company should be able to exploit it’s workers, just because they have the workers over a barrel. On the other hand, I don’t think that employees should command more than they are worth to a company, just because there is a shortage of workers, but unfortunately, that’s the way things are here.
While, I may not like all the aspects of our society, I do know that I have a choice in playing into it, or not. Right now, I’m playing the game, and dreaming of the day that I have the courage, and the means to quit. It’s not as easy as it seems, or everyone would be doing it. I applaud the folks that have gone against the grain, and made their way in spite of how everyone else was doing it. I hope that their numbers keep growing, and the cities start shrinking, because that’s the only way that humans are going to survive the onslaught of greed, technology and apathy that is running rampant throughout our world now. From what I can see, everybody is trying to longcock the other guy and prove that they are the better businessman. Notice I didn’t use ‘smarter businessman’? That’s because a smart man would realize the damage he was creating and put a stop to it. No, it’s just plain greed, and one-upmanship that is driving our planet, and ourselves into the ground. You may also notice that I am using the word ‘man’ instead of ‘person’. That’s because I believe it to be men, and not women that are largely responsible for our predicament. I’m not saying that women aren’t responsible for anything, because men do pretty well everything they do, for women, but it’s generally men’s egos that are behind it all. Wow, that sure switched from my trip with Abner, to this shit, pretty quickly. Sorry about that.
I wear my sunglasses at night,