As I was pulling through the security gate Wednesday @ Menards, a semi with “CDL in a day” written on the cab was exiting in the other lane. He was pulling a 28 ft flatbed trailer.
Sharp looking rig.
I got the phone number and called him, to ask about costs, scheduling, etc.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I have been attempting to get my class A CDL license. (That would enable me to drive a semi or large truck, and dovetail nicely into my skill-set.
If when construction work slows down I could always pick up some hours hauling grain, bulk milk etc.
Tim (the owner of business/ CDL in a day) texted me yesterday. He had a cancellation and wondered if I had time to practice driving then take my test at the D.O.T on Saturday? (today.)
So yesterday, I showed up at his shop to spend an hour (ended up being three) prepping for my driving tests.
I debated whether or not to tell him about my last experience with the CDL instructor,
I decided to let him know about the other instructor and his hollering at me.
Best decision of the day.
Tim told me, he himself had tried to get his CDL through John. Had spent $450 and never did get his license. I didn’t want to slander John, (even though the whole experience did leave a nasty taste in my mouth), so I just listened. Tim went on to tell me, I was not alone. He has had several pupils come to him for instruction who have also spent hours and hundreds of dollars with John, none of them ever passing. (And all of them talked about getting hollered at)
The day I spent an hour with John, we spent 1/2 the time sitting with the truck idling, while he talked about horses, rodeos and a rodeo clown.
Tim had heard the same stories, the same yelling. We laughed. My conclusions about John as an instructor were not so far off after all.
Getting back to yesterday…
So there I was, a slightly traumatized class A CDL student getting back in the saddle. (Yea me)
Since my last lesson, I have watched video’s on YouTube, spent an hour with my neighbor driving his semi, and saw yesterday, a 50 percent improvement in my ability to up shift (go from low to high)…
BUT when it came to downshifting, I was still grinding gears/ forgetting to flip the high/low button..etc. At least three times, when it came time to downshift, my mind went completely blank…
Imagine being behind the wheel and being responsible for 26,000 pounds of steel, going 55 MPH in traffic. You are still confused with how to bring this mass of metal, rubber and glass to a predictable, safe stop… (that is a peek into my brain)
Hour number two, I had a bad case of cotton mouth. Haven’t experienced that since I was in 8th grade wrestling.
Have you ever experienced cotton mouth? You’d know it if you had.
Hour number three was brutal. More road time/ plus the skills portion of the test (straight line backing/ 90% backing and parallel parking which I did OK on).
I texted Tim last night, thanked him for the lesson but had decided not to test. Then I e-mailed the company I had tentatively gotten a job offer with for seasonal truck driving and told them, I had a change of plans. It was not going to work to drive. I have already spent 5 hours of one on one instruction, plus several hundred dollars and it just isn’t clicking.
I would be a liability on the road.
I am going to put the goal of acquiring a class A CDL on the shelf for now. I gave it my best shot. I’m sure if I had a truck up on blocks/ and a day to practice I would have it mastered…but I don’t.
I feel no embarrassment or shame in taking a step back.
I have a right to change my mind.
I gave it my best shot. When I got home yesterday, I felt emotionally like I had been in a ring with a silver-back gorilla. (or a rodeo clown) 😉
As I was processing out loud this morning with my wife, she reminded me, I had quote “been in the arena.“
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Teddy Roosevelt from his speech The Man In the Arena
That’s how things are currently rolling (or not) out here in the heartlands of Merica. Later! DM