I don't enjoy working so far from my home. The fact I spend over ten hours of my life per week in my car makes my skin crawl. I've battled snow, the morning sun, downpours, fires, construction, and floods. I've been hit on, cussed out, ignored, and followed. I've gotten two speeding warnings and one red light camera ticket. Countless little bugs have lost their lives to my windshield. It gets dangerous out there. I am not a fan.
Unless of course, we're talking about these guys.
These are my morning road neighbors. Pickup trucks, utility vans, wood chippers, semis, dump trucks, and construction equipment. Plumbers, electricians, firemen, landscapers.....craftsman.
I live in a far western suburb near the big and beautiful city of Chicago. I have farmland in my backyard, farmer's markets every weekend in the summer, and a historical section of town dedicated to the nostalgic days of locomotive commerce and ice from a truck. Like most towns, we have our fair share of economical diversity. We've got some sprawling mansions with private beaches and a few subsidized apartment complexes with broken-down cars. The majority of us, however, are average Americans, with two or three bedroom homes, an obsession with barbequing, and a deep pride for our well-kept lawns.
This isn't to say I don't love me some fine-lookin accountants (Aaron's an accountant). I respect all professions and think everyone deserves the chance to make a first impression, free of pre-conceived notions about their chosen line of work.
But there's something to be said about my early-morning truckers...something makes me feel safe and free when I see them, mud spattered on tires, random metal chains and parts hanging off the truck bed, a water cooler potentially brimming with a dependable supply of hydration. I think about their day, the job site they're heading to, the client they're meeting that morning, the wood and tools and machines they might touch that day. There's beauty in their labor.
They work long hours, sometimes for very little pay, almost always exposed to the elements. They may not have air conditioning in their truck, but they've got a tan arm hanging out the window and that works just fine for them. Squeaky brakes, diesel fumes, quiet pride. If asked to wear a suit they might pull out their fancy, singular tie...but when asked to fix a closet door they show up with 17 different tools, a new closet plan, and the lumber they pre-cut for the job. Eating out isn't as comfortable as sitting on the couch with a beer and a day on the lake is more memorable than anything they have over there on Michigan Avenue. It's a simple, but passionate life.
I'm proud to be share the road with these people each morning. At the end of the day, when I cross that imaginary line on my drive home and start seeing parking lots like this:
......I smile and feel my heart lighten just a bit, knowing I'm finally home.