Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness

As the year draws to an end, I had HUGE plans for a nice post about my year and what it has meant to me. After all, I’ve done things I never dreamed I would do; I’ve had photographers out to the farm, and stories printed in magazines. I’ve hauled a load of homegrown, natural, grass fed, beef to people that were amazingly happy to see me (and their beef). I’ve met astounding people that have changed my world, and how I look at it and that includes all of you-you are all amazing…. However, after the trip down, maybe the message is something worth reading below.

As I was heading south on i25 in New Mexico the other day, I had a fancy Lincoln Town car sit in the hammer lane, right at the tail end of my trailer, and along side of me (right where my trailer wheels were rolling down the highway) for over 10 miles. I had my cruise set at 75 miles an hour; I was enjoying the sunshine and the 40-degree weather.

Because they were not making any headway, I finally took my cruise control off and slowed a bit to get the Lincoln out and away from me. For my safety as well as everyone else’s I don’t like anyone around my truck for too long. I don’t sit next to other trucks in my truck let alone when I’m in my personal vehicle. Why on earth would you want to?

It took me another good 5 miles to flush the car out ahead of me. I figured they either hung there because Rosie was a filthy mess like the Lincoln, and they felt some kind of connection, or this guy was mesmerized by my big wheels going around and round and round. When the Lincoln finally got out ahead of me, I noticed they too were from Minnesota, so of course I thought maybe my license plate had caught them.

Once they got next to me, I could see an elderly man was at the wheel, and I assume it was his wife who was in the back seat on the passenger side. I could just barely see them through their dirty unwashed windows. I shook my head as the old snowbirds got a good ¾ of a mile out ahead of me and finally, I resumed my speed hoping that was the last I would see of them. Of course I was wrong.

The Lincoln slowed again, and I started to catch up. I took the cruise off once more and slowed down to keep a good space between us as we were getting into the hills that will slow trucks down. The traffic was heavier and just I wanted to keep my slow lane, mind my own business and not have to bother with anyone. I know that was probably wishful thinking, but at this moment I was really enjoying my truck and quiet I had thus far.

As I started pulling a good hill just south of Las Vegas NM the Lincoln again slowed way down, as if it too was pulling 80,000 pounds up the hill. I was catching them quickly and backed out of it even more to let a few vehicles go by me in case I needed the hammer lane, which I did. I passed the old fart at 60 miles an hour, going up a good hill that will make any truck work. As I passed back into the slow lane ahead of them, I was surprised the Lincoln stayed behind, but then as quick as that thought entered my mind, the car shot out into the hammer lane cutting off a bunch of other vehicles that were actually going the speed limit, as if I was now holding him up.

As the old fart toddled up along side of me- I’m just hitting 65 mph at this point and maybe he was doing 66 or 67 mph- I figured I’d right get to the point so we didn’t have to continue this on down the highway. I rolled my window down and held my left hand out the window as far as I could get it, finger high in the air…

Grandpa was leaning over looking up at me, and the last I saw of Granny was her face, smashed against the back window looking up and out at me as if I had just lost my mind.

Go ahead and say it, I know– I’m such a lady.

The good thing though, was that I got their attention, and they stayed way ahead of me from that point on, which made me very happy. The bad thing was, they most likely didn’t know they had done anything wrong, and most likely didn’t even know there was a semi truck on the same road as them.

Of course there were quite a few giggles on my part. I just wish I had it all on video- the look on their faces, not my giggling.

The point of this story is that we are more populated on the highways with not only semi-trucks, but also cars, pick-ups and motorcycles than ever before. And in the summer you can add in all the bicycles that DO NOT belong on interstates as well.

With that, your actions and mine affect everyone else.

So, I have this idea.

Along side of drivers training, you know where they should be teaching trainees how to merge, turn, parallel park, and such. I think we need to teach everyone that we are not the most important people out there, that others walking and driving along side of us are just as important. I think, if we taught everyone to have respect for one another (I know far out idea), and to have courtesy for others, our world, not only the roadways would be so much safer and pleasant. We have lost that.

There is not a mile that goes by when I have other vehicles around me that I do not worry if I’m holding someone up, or try to get out of someone’s way because they are traveling faster than I am, or it is me who is watching how I am passing someone else- where there vehicle is verses my vehicle.

There are many times when I will slow down to let others go by me- even when I myself am coming up on a slow vehicle quickly, because if I don’t have to, I’d rather not cause animosity.

In the back of my mind it is always there- that I am not the only one on the highway. Of course I also know there is a TON of people that hate trucks & truckers alike, so that’s always in the back of my mind too.

I try to live my life how I drive my truck, with the least amount of resistance.

Of course my days are not all like that, as you know.

So back to mindfulness- try to put some mindfulness into your day.

Watch the people around you. Get out of the hammer lane once you are safely past another vehicle so others can go around you. Stop bullshitting in front of the check-out line so others can get done what they are trying to do. It’s easy. Start treating others the way you want to be treated. Be kind. Be polite. And see what everyone else is doing around you, because it matters to everyone else.

Start the year anew with a smile and slow down a bit. Give. Not money or anything that you can hold in your hands. Give you. Be tolerant and give a little smile rather than a dirty look.

Try.

And, if all else fails, well, give them the finger.

Happy New Year xoxo

 

Bethany About Bethany

I am a prisoner of the highway, farmer and lover of Mother Nature, the moon and stars, my long and low, flat-top Peterbilt, chickens, cats, dogs, horses, cooking, photography, tattoos, tea pots and vintage barnifacts…among other things. I’m also a very, happily married, third-generation truck driver. My career choice is both demanding and rewarding, just like most things in life that are truly good.

Comments

  1. Jimmy Guiste says:

    This is such an annoying, and constant, problem nowadays. I’m glad you mentioned the check out line, because I’ve noticed this problem way beyond our trucks as well. It seems as tho the majority of people feel like their the only ones of importance. Selfishness and greed are HUGE problems we live with, and entirely too many folks practice it on a regular basis! I’m sure it sounds cliche’, but I will never ever forget one thing from my childhood…Mrs. McKinley, who was a family friend, as well as a substitute teacher in our school, would always tell the kids “treat others the way you want to be treated”. She would teach this in the school, preach it in church, and speak it in the community. This came natural to her. Why? Because that’s how she lived. She truly lived that way, and always wire a smile. So I’m definitely with you in this one Beth, and would actually challenge everyone to treat others the way you want to be treated, regardless of the situation. Try it, it just may be contagious. A smile, never goes out of style… JG

  2. Oh so true. Case in Point: I don’t drive interstate very often. But when I do I AM MINDFUL. Mind you this was not on an interstate. HWY 79 from Austin to East Texas. I go through all the small towns. Yeah, its long, but the best route and I’m really in no hurry. I’m a scenery hog. Anyway, I’m crusing along there’s a 18 wheeler with a huge sliver tank. He’s carrying either somehing toxic or something yummy. In Texas is usually toxic. I give him a wide berth. Take the highway buddy. Lots of room in between us. Just cause it says 70 doesn’t mean you have to go 70 if you don’t have enough space between vehicles. Right? Right. Anyway I’m sipping my coffee, behind me is, of all things State of Texas DPS Patrol car. UGH. Behind him is a silver Nissan, sporty job. We’re travelling along Just before we enter the big city of Hearne, Texas the Nissan decides he’s had enough and spins past the DPS Trooper, Me, AND the 18 wheeler carrying Toxic stuff. I was flabbergasted. Amazed. I look up in the rear view mirror. I know the trooper saw me. I motioned with my hands and said, “And you’re gonna let him get by with that crap.” Needless to say, he put his lights on, I slowed down, pulled over on to the shoulder and he passed me to go after the silver Nissan. Mindfulness, paitence, needs to be practiced everywhere. I have to admit at times I can be very impatient but its hardly ever on the highway. I have installed a new app on my phone. I know it sounds corny. Its a mindfulness bell. It rings at different times of the day. It gets my attention. What am I thinking about. Am I pissed off, judgmental, full of self pity, or am I trying to be my best person. Only time will tell. This journey through life can be a bitch at times. It just begins with my attitude towards it. I always enjoy your blog. I was without internet for a while but I have it back and very glad to have your blog again. Have a great New Year. Be safe out there. You’ll need to watch that “other” guy.

  3. Bethany, Thanks for sharing this. It was last Friday or Saturday, I had walked down to the little convenience store half a block from where I’m staying, an the owner’s son was there, an we exchanged greetings an after I had checked out he asked me about the weather an then asked me about pass conditions going back over to the West side of the state, told him how he can check that before he leaves, I mentioned to him that I do that while I’m driving an mentioned that I drive big rigs, an he jumped back real quick that he doesn’t like them, I said that there is nothing wrong with them best thing to do is stay behind them, AND far enough that the driver can SEE YOU in his mirrors, OR get out an pass him an stay in front of them. I told him that I would see HIM long before he would see me, an said that we are trained to look AT LEAST 1/4 (of further) of a mile ahead of us. He was surprised, I told him that doing that allows us to start slowing down, or looking for a open space in another lane to get over. And he said, “REALLY”! I said yep, I do that ALL the time, whether in a big rig or in a 4 wheeler. He then asked if we were going to get any more sunshine. I told him that what we needed was a good stiff breeze to come along an scour out the low level clouds that seems to hang around this valley this time of year. An he said that it was windy, I said, Not enough, I told him that if you look at the tops of the trees that will be a good teller as to how much of a breeze that we are getting. He is a real nice young man, an he was home for Christmas an the holidays and we ALWAYS chat when I go over to the store. I will even do this when I’m at a fuel stop and I hear someone who is driving a car, make a negative comment about trucks, AND I’ve told them, you do realize that the majority of the people in here right now ARE TRUCK DRIVER’S?!? AND EVERY OTHER DRIVER IN LINE WITH ME LOOKED THERE WAY, AND NO FURTHER COMMENTS WERE MADE!! Very well said, Bethany!! Thanks, Driver, from me, to You!! Keep the wind at your back, an the sun in your face!! ;)

  4. Jackie Roisler says:

    Love your very descriptive story! I not only felt as if I were watching a movie, I learned a few things and smiled into laughter. May you & Rosie stay safe throughout 2013!

  5. Your blog post is essentially a lesson about SOCIETY. It’s like a fable that can be applied to any workplace or situation with human interaction. I work in Human Resources and I need to print this out and post it on my wall. Thank you.

  6. Always a pleasure reading your post! I, again, couldn’t agree more with everything you say. especially being polite and mindful of the people around you and treating others how you want to be treated. it’s simple acts of kindness that can make someones day. i hope you see more of it this year and less bull shit. (but we know how society usually works) then again, you never know! happy new years to you Bethany and sending you many many blessings and good vibes. stay safe!
    xx

  7. Well said Bethany. Hope you are having a great start to a great new year. WLBS

  8. Some of us still use cbs, I wouldn’t run without one. It’s my best friend besides diesel smoke… At 24 I keep the trucker tradition alive… The way trucking used to be. Courteous, helping out others, picking up thumbers, and cb jabbing. My comic books are always funny, and I roll my hills in Georgia overdrive. I was taught to drive this way. I can only hope maybe we can get things back the way they were long before I was a twinkle in my daddys eye. Keep the dream alive.
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