Lessons Learned from a Semi Driver

Two days ago I was wrapping up yet another “Men’s Day” at the local country club I have worked at for the past two summers. Men’s Day consists of myself and several other females catering to stuck up, wealthy, middle-aged men who have nothing better to do on their Wednesday afternoons than to take the day off at the companies they own in order to hit the links and tip back drinks. Most of these shifts are spent chasing down the members on my John Deere Gator (keep in mind this is the “poor mans’ country club”) beverage cart around the course while kissing ass and making them feel like I actually care about how their rounds are going. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, I absolutely loooove being a beer cart girl; driving around with a screwdriver in hand while soaking up the beautiful colors and trees, all while getting a solid tan really isn’t so bad. Anyways…I digress…

I was not-so-subtlly hinting at the fact that I was about to close the bar to the remaining patrons when I decided to make myself a mixie. In my mind, I deserved one after a long day of rich people bullish*t. I felt the need to drink more, so I asked my coworker Rachel if she wanted to head to a bar down the road with me for a post-shift drink. Feeling the same stresses of the day as I, she was in of course. We met another coworker there, and upon popping a squat on the bar stool I pulled out a 10 dollar bill to cover the first round (in Wisconsin we can get away with this). As I was about to pay the bartender, a scraggly man with droopy eyes shouted/slurred from the other end of the bar that he wanted to catch our drinks. After the bartender warned us that “he’s creepy, but harmless” we took him up on his offer and kindly thanked him before continuing our bitching about the work day.

After a few minutes the creepy man slowing made his way over to us, and I could tell he wanted someone to talk to so I again thanked him for the drinks. Sure enough the inevitable friendly Wisconsinite in me came out and we introduced ourselves to each other and got to chatting while my coworkers carried on conversation between the two of them. I learned the mans’ name was Arleigh and that he was a semi driver with his truck parked outside the bar in the parking lot. By this time he had purchased me a second drink and because I had not eaten all day the alcohol was allowing conversation between the two of us to come easier. He told me about his past and how he had Paul Volcker as an Econ professor when he attended University of Minnesota. I told him of how I had graduated this past spring and how I had just recently accepted a position as an au pair in Australia. He expressed that he had been to Australia (along with countless other countries) and told me that he was super happy for me that I was about to have this experience. As the night went on I learned a lot more about Arleigh, and despite the large amount of alcohol I consumed I recall the following lessons I learned that night:

  • Don’t take your education for granted. I will be writing an entire post about this in the near future.
  • Listen to all (not both – there are more than two) sides of an opinion. Arleigh informed me that back in the day both Wisconsin Republicans and Democrats in Madison wanted “to put his name on the ticket.” If I’m being honest I really don’t remember all of the details to how this came about for him, but I took away that politics is even sketchier than I thought it was. I have never labeled myself a “republican” or a “democrat,” and my conversation with him only reassured me that our two party system is corrupt. He insisted that “an honest man doesn’t do well in politics,” so he decided against this route and became a semi truck diver – a career that he absolutely loves and is passionate about. *** Side note: Cody this is for you: ROLL ON!
  • On my upcoming trip to Australia: “Have an open mind and talk to people how you are taking to me right now.” I asked him to elaborate, and he said this was all the advice I needed.
  • You worry significantly less when you spend some time somewhere like The Philippines.
  • Be knowledgeable of your family history. I am hoping to learn more about mine!
  • And lastly, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Or in this case, don’t judge a creepy truck driver drinking alone in a bar before talking with him.

I believe everything happens for a reason. I met Arleigh two nights ago to be reminded of the bullet points above. I also believe that strangers can have just as great of an impact on us as individuals who have been in our entire lives have had. It was refreshing to meet someone like Arleigh, and I will undoubtedly think of our conversation and cheap beer we consumed together when I’m in Australia failing to get any male to buy me a beer that costs 9 dollars. It was a random Wednesday night that I will remember for a long time. Thanks for the drinks, Arleigh!

Until next time,

AA

*** P.S. I would like to note that not every member at the country club I work at is like I depicted above. I admire many of the members who have taken the time to get to know me, offer me guidance, make me laugh, and inspire me in more ways than one. Thank you, and you know who you are.

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