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2:40 am EST        15°F (-9°C) in West Unity, OH

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I have had entirely too much going on in the past six days. I delivered last week's load to its two receivers in Maryland and Pennsylvania, then picked up another one that took me to Wisconsin. From there, I was sent down into Illinois to grab my current load, which is headed to upstate New York. I get to run like hell later today to make the 9:00 am delivery appointment tomorrow.

Let's start with last Thursday night, as I sat parked in the northwestern suburbs of Washington, DC. As usual, being the personal-privacy zealot I am, I won't name the parties involved, but I am going to describe what happened. Through the blog of one of my fellow road enthusiasts — a person I have come to consider a friend — I found several other blogs maintained by his old friends and acquaintances. A few of them were quite interesting, largely because of the frequency of posting or the subject matter — and frankly, I am the type of person that really likes to read personal blogs, even if I have no clue who the writer is. Sometimes you can learn things to apply to your own life from the experiences of other people.

In any case, a particular one of these linked blogs piqued my interest; its author seemed to have many things in common with me. I decided to send him a message via AOL Instant Messenger, really to do nothing more than give a basic introduction and say hello. This person was almost completely unresponsive; when I found out why, I really got pissed off. He had pre-judged me based on the fact that my friend and I shared an interest in roads, and decided that I must be the extremely anal-retentive type that can quote road statistics ad nauseam — without even bothering to consider any other possibility!

Prejudice in any form is a VERY ugly thing. If there is one thing in the world that can drive me into a murderous rage, it is prejudice. To say the least, it is flatly and absolutely unfair to come to any conclusions about another person until you've actually taken 15 minutes to get to know them. You may come to find that a person does fit some or all of the stereotypes, but you damn well better have made an effort to learn about the person first. To say "women can't succeed in math and science," or "black people are lazy," or "all Asian people are super-intelligent and stand-offish," or "gay people are all cross-dressing, HIV-positive freaks" is not only the best way to demonstrate your utter stupidity, but also — if you say such things to me — a great way to get your face re-aligned.

It would have been one thing for this person to just come right out and say, "Sorry, but I'm not interested in getting to know you." I mean, when an asshole admits to being an asshole, that's all fine and good — I know not to waste my time with them. Instead, this person had to make the incorrect assumption that I was going to do nothing but fill his monitor screen full of esoteric road tidbits — and even further, use that to justify blowing me off. One would think that, being a sexual minority himself, this person would have known not to pre-judge people — but to quote the highly sarcastic saying of my high school math teacher Fr. Ward, "Yeah, well, hope springs eternal." (Fr. Ward generally used that line when a student had little chance of passing a particular test — hence the sarcasm.)

Last night, after delivering the weekend's load just outside Madison, WI, I headed toward Milwaukee to prepare to pick a load up there Tuesday morning. As I was on my way, however, my "Check Engine" light came on, and when I stopped to make the engine computer "flash" the error codes to me via dashboard lights, I found out that the problem was one of the fuel injectors. After calling the company's breakdowns department and explaining the problem, I limped into Milwaukee (on only five cylinders) to a Detroit Diesel engine repair facility. Yesterday morning, they yanked the offending injector and replaced it with a brand-new one, and I was good to go. (I am not saying this to complain about my dispatchers, but this whole incident was yet more evidence in support of my "shit happens" position. I mean, a fuel injector quitting on me is something that is way beyond my control. As such, I hope it won't be held against me in regards to less-than-stellar miles, but who knows anymore.)

My eyelids are starting to weigh several tons, so it's about time to post this and get my ass to bed.