Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1966
The Freightliner diesel truck turns toward me. Blah, the klieg horn and the squeal of brakes cut through the night. I turn my motorcycle beyond the truck’s brilliant headlights.
“Hey kid, I almost hit you.” A silhouette in the truck’s window leans toward me. “What are you doing here at this time of night?”
“I work here,” I shout above the noise of the truck’s engine and the pop, pop, pop of my Norton 750 Scrambler. “And, I’m not a kid. I load trucks for UPS. I’m a Teamster just like you. I’ll probably load your truck this morning.”
The cab door opens. The driver jumps down. “And, who might you be?” He grins.
“Ah… Richard,” I say, unsure if I want to continue this conversation at 3:00 AM in a deserted parking lot.
“Good to meet you, Richard, I’m Jimmy.” He extends his hand to greet me.
I release the Norton’s handlebar throttle to receive his grip. The engine dies. “Oh, great,” I whisper.
“What’s that?” Jimmy asks.
“Nothing.” I slide off the Norton to face the unknown. “Sorry I blocked your way.”
“Ah, that’s okay,” he replies. “I’ve got a kid at home just like you. I guess I take extra caution. Have to do that, you know. Could have blindsided you. Never know what I’ll face when I drive to Minneapolis.”
Madison, Wisconsin 2019
Whoosh. The silver truck, like the whisper of a bullet, streaks past my car. “What’s that?” I ask.
“It’s a driverless truck,” my son answers. “Driverless cars were approved last year. Hey, that’s progress. People didn’t imagine that a car without a driver was just the beginning. This spring UPS bought a fleet of driverless trucks. The truck that passed you was probably headed to Minneapolis with its load.”
“Dad, do you realize there are over three million truck drivers whose jobs are at risk?”
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Richard Wilberg, MS, PLCC, ACC
Coach for Personal Fulfillment and Career Success
About the Author
I write personal essays, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and self-development articles from my home in Madison, Wisconsin.