Features - Features

How Much is too Much?

By Sandy Long

It is insidious, appears to breed and multiply on its own, gets hidden in nooks and crannies, hits you on the head on bumpy roads, and falls to the floor tripping you on your way to the bunk. It causes you to misuse money, call home and yell at your spouse, and can get you an overweight ticket. Can you guess what it is? Give up?

It is too much stuff!

I am a somewhat disorganized person. I cannot remember whether I have an extra deodorant or shampoo, or what canned goods I have on the truck when I go to the store. So, I end up with two extra cans of deodorant, three extra bottles of shampoo and WAY too many groceries. I am always in a hurry when I get back to the truck from the store and just stick the stuff I have bought into whatever space I can find, thinking I will put it where it belongs when I get time. Wrong! I suffer from "olds truckers" and am a tad bit of a procrastinator, so I usually conveniently forget.

This was really brought home to me when I recently changed jobs. I had been in the same truck for over three years and brought it home to clean it out and up. Starting with the nook above the driver's seat closest to the roof, I pulled out partial bags of the sugarless candy I like, a partial bag of dog treats, six packs of loose leaf logs, an old log book from '01, various items like hand cream, seals, and half a carton of stale cigarettes...this was in addition to all the stuff that I use all the time like my atlas, permit book, DOT manual, pen bag, and extra box of tissues.

The sleeper was like a found treasure trove of forgotten unread books, missing socks, old crossword puzzle books, lost screwdrivers and little wrenches from the time my tool case fell over, and thank God, the mate to a lonely single silver and turquoise earring of a set that I had had for over 20 years. You would have thought I had bought out a grocery store with all the canned goods I had in the truck. You know those little pull carts you see little old ladies use to take home their groceries? Yeppers, mine was full up!

Then there were the clothes. I always tried to carry enough clothes for three weeks. I hate doing laundry at the truck stops, don't you? Then of course, we just have to carry clothes for different weather conditions, don't we? I had 20 t-shirts, 40 pairs of undies, 10 collared shirts, 8 pairs of jeans and (count them) 4 different weights of jackets! No wonder my drawers were empty at home!

The miscellaneous stuff was just as bad. Baby wipes and, of course, the refills (you just cannot truck these days without baby wipes), plenty of cleaning supplies (would you believe six rolls of paper towels?), extra windshield washer liquid, a bottle of dish soap for those pesky buggy windshields and greasy hands, tool box, bedding (two blankets and a comforter along with my three pillows), several bungee cords, a piece of rope and a four-foot long crowbar that I inherited from some receiver that left it, (unbeknownst to me until I was 150 miles away), in my trailer.

It took me almost three hours to get all the stuff packed up and carried into the house. Then came the hard part--sorting it all out to see what I wanted to take with me to the new job and truck.

When I got to the new job, got through orientation and was assigned my new ride, I was a little embarrassed when, after an hour of taking stuff from my car and putting it in the truck, the safety director asked me if I was ever going to get through. Wasn't embarrassed too long though. While I took a quick cigarette break and pondered if I had brought too much stuff, I watched a driver clean his stuff out of his truck to move into a new one. He was loading his stuff into the back of a pickup truck and it was piled up to the roof of the cab! Now THAT was WAY too much stuff!