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3:18 am EST        34°F (1°C) in Cranbury, NJ

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I am sitting around for a bit longer here at the Molly Pitcher service plaza on the southbound New Jersey Turnpike, before heading into Philadelphia for a 6:00 am EST delivery appointment. Any paved area is better for parking than the prostitute- and drug-infested Walt Whitman Truck Stop on the south side of Philadelphia, even when one’s delivery appointment is a mere stone’s throw away from said truck stop.

I had promised a couple weeks ago to make an entry in which I would retell my dating follies from a few years ago. I now realize, looking back, that many of the guys I dated were complete morons not even worth giving the time of day, much less actually being tied down to them. With that said, let’s start setting the record straight (no pun intended):

Chris the Slut (November-December 2000): I give him that nickname for two reasons, first that I was told many moons later that he was, in fact, a big-time slut, and second, that I have to differentiate him from another Chris. Actually, this Chris wasn’t all that bad of a guy; the thing is, both he and I were just barely out of the closet at the time, and that’s not the kind of psychological base upon which a strong, healthy relationship can be built. Anything negative I heard or saw about him came long after this time, from people I knew who had seen him boozing and/or slutting it up in a big way in the clubs.

Jon (April-June 2001): You know the type of guy who waits until the very last minute to tell you he’s image-obsessed, and even worse yet, projects his own self-image problems on you? That was Jon in a nutshell. My old U-M friend Sarah had transferred to Central Michigan University after one disastrous semester in Ann Arbor, and not long thereafter, she became part of a group of friends in Mount Pleasant that included Jon. Naturally, when she found out Jon was gay, she mentioned, “hey, I have a friend that I knew at U-M who is gay; maybe I should introduce you guys.”

After some online chatting and phone calls and such, I decided to make the 2½-hour drive up to Mount Pleasant one afternoon to meet him. That first meeting went fairly well, with the exception of him managing to lose a necklace he had originally received from his grandfather. He only realized it after I had left, and spent a fair bit of time the next day re-tracing our steps through the most likely places he would have lost it, but never did find it.

Thoughtful guy that I am, I decided before another trip to Mount Pleasant that I was going to surprise him. I bought him the same type of necklace (although obviously not a totally identical one) for $35 at a store in Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, and didn’t say a word to anybody until I presented it to him at dinner the next time I went up there. Needless to say, he was quite happy, and things went well for a couple weeks.

Exams came to an end in mid-May, and Jon returned home to one of the Downriver suburbs of Detroit. I was interested in meeting his family, but he was deathly afraid of coming out to his parents (and with good reason, in my opinion), so I dropped the issue. I thought most everything was going well until one Sunday afternoon in early June, when, after we had just spent a couple hours walking around an art fair and talking about his issues with his parents, he told me that he was dumping me. Quite obviously shocked, I asked why; the response shocked me even more.

He told me that he hated the fact that he didn’t have perfect six-pack abs (although it’s not like I did, or still do, either); I told him I didn’t consider that to be an issue, suspecting that he had been fearing I wouldn’t like what he perceived to be “imperfections.” I told him that I liked him for who he was, not how he looked. That was when he dropped the bomb: he declared that my (even more obvious) lack of a six-pack only reminded him that he didn’t have one either, so therefore, he could no longer go out with me. Loyal readers, you can now pick your jaws up off the floor, and make sure you don’t shake your head so violently it falls off your neck. wink

Stephen (October-November 2001): My God, where do I even start with Stephen? Between the obsession with Cher that drove me up a wall, his unresolved issues over being sexually abused by his father, his utter lack of a concept of give-and-take in relationships, and his apparent belief that stupid, inane humor is just as funny the hundredth time as the first, the few weeks spent “dating” Stephen were a complete and total waste of my time.

I honestly don’t know how somebody can be so detached and self-absorbed as to lip-synch along with Cher, with eyes closed and exaggerated facial movements à la Celine Dion, while masturbating his/her partner. Sex of any flavor in a relationship is supposed to involve some positive non-zero amount of intimacy, but I guess Stephen never got that memo. Then again, I suppose that’s not surprising, considering that Stephen was the “once I get off, to hell with you” type.

Stephen’s concept of “compromise” was to take, take, and take some more. I really try to be a nice guy to everybody, but when I can tell I’m getting used, that really infuriates me. One thing I never should have done was to teach him how to drive a manual-transmission vehicle using my car (at the time, a black 2001 Hyundai Elantra); even after I repeatedly told him I wanted him downshifting when slowing down instead of merely coasting out of gear, it was like it didn’t register. I finally got to the point where I had had enough of him doing nothing at all for me, not even the simplest thing any partner can do — sex — and I dumped him like a lead balloon. That wasn’t even the end of him; I had to change my phone number a week later to keep the bitch from calling me.

Chris the Shitter (September and December 2002): Not long after the Stephen disaster was over, I was in need of a job, and I attended a presentation put on by Driver Solutions, Inc., in a hotel meeting room. The form I filled out that day set me on the path toward attending a truck-driving school in Indianapolis and eventually being hired as a driver by Van Buren, AR-based USA Truck, Inc.. For reasons outlined in my December 2, 2004 update, the eight months I spent there were a complete disaster, and I quit there once I had lined up another driving job with Chattanooga, TN-based U.S. Xpress, Inc.. I was instructed to report to U.S. Xpress’ terminal in Medway, OH, right on Interstate 70 a bit northeast of Dayton, for my orientation session.

All of that is relevant because it was at the Greyhound station in downtown Toledo, while I waited for my bus bound to Dayton, that I first met Chris the Shitter. He seemed to be a really nice guy, and during the hour time frame between the arrival of his bus from Chicago (he was transferring to a bus headed to Columbus) and the departure of my bus to Dayton, we really hit it off. He was returning to his parents’ home a few miles off State Route 61 in rural Morrow County, about an hour north of Columbus, after having lived a few years on his own in Phoenix. He gave me his phone number and told me to call him if I was ever going to be in the Columbus vicinity.

A few weeks later, I was headed across Ohio on I-70, which goes right through Columbus, so I figured I would give him a call. It was then that he told me he was actually that far north of Columbus, and that he lacked anything in the way of transportation to get down there. We talked a few more times, but he always seemed to have his mind off in la-la land when we would talk, and after a while, I kinda got tired of that and eventually didn’t call him for several weeks.

One day in December, I was dispatched to the Whirlpool plant in Marion, OH, which is along U.S. Route 23 north of Columbus, to grab a load headed to Carlisle, PA. The most optimal route, in my opinion, was to take State Route 309 from Marion to Mansfield, then Interstate 71 north to Interstate 76 east. Knowing that was somewhere near Chris’ neck of the woods, I decided that despite my earlier annoyances with him, I would call him. “Oh my God, you’re like two miles away!,” he practically shrieked with glee, and invited me to stop by, giving me directions and a place I could park a rig for a bit.

Given what he had told me in an earlier phone conversation (“It was all I could do not to kiss you that night at the bus station, but we could have used a bit more privacy”), and the fact that, well, both of us were horny 20-somethings, we sort of knew what was going to happen. After a bite to eat and a little walk around the area, he worked out a story by which he got his mother to drive the two of us back out to my truck, and we proceeded to go to town in the sleeper. There was only one slight problem: he hadn’t told me that he was taking muscle relaxants prescribed to him after an auto accident five days earlier, and I wouldn't find out until most of the bed sheets and my naughty bits were a shitty mess. A shower and a load of laundry solved those problems easily enough, thankfully, but after that, in his usual ditzy fashion, Chris the Shitter came up with lame excuse after lame excuse as to why he never could chat much on the phone.

During the walk around his area, he told me that he had gone on a date or two with some guy from Columbus who he said was sort of an asshole and didn’t really treat him that well. He claimed he liked how I was “masculine, yet still sensitive,” to use his exact words, but I guess in the end, Chris the Shitter decided that a guy who could fuck him regularly (because he wasn’t a truck driver who never knew where he was going to be) was more important to him than a guy who actually cared about him. Oh well, I’ll consider it even if he shit all over the other guy’s dick too. wink

Yes, I’ve had my share of hook-ups, “tricks,” and other one-night partners, at least while I was going through my “slut phase” before I got into trucking, but none of them really did anything notably idiotic. I mean, I think most people have lower emotional expectations of their one-night tricks than of people they hope are relationship material, so it’s not like the dumb or insensitive things that one-night partners have done would bother me much.

Well, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. wink After this, it looks like I’m headed down Interstate 95 into Delaware for my next pickup, then out to Illinois with that load.