(Alright, let’s get you all caught up, whether you know who I am, or have just stumbled across me.)
Up until last November I was a taxi driver on the Isle of Wight. A good one. But with a self-destruct button couldn’t stop hitting.. Suddenly, after 11 years of service, and through my own stupidity, I found myself without a job. It was quite a shite/surreal feeling.
I fell back on my HGV licence, one I’d obtained a decade before (yes, while I was a taxi driver, maths fans), and I started looking for work on the mainland.
Why the mainland? Because my beautiful, long-suffering girlfriend worked further up the country. Besides, staying on the island was going to kill me. Literally. But that’s a story I’ll approach later in these blogs. And quite a story it is, too.
I applied for a bunch of jobs based in and around Portsmouth and Southampton. The one I really wanted was running a car transporter out of the docks in Southampton, all the way to Ireland, going to-and-from other docks on the way. It was a two weeks on, one week off rota, which would mean I could see some more of my two boys when I was home on the island, as well as my daughter and her imaginary boyfriend. Again, later blogs, etc.
I really wanted class one work (articulated lorries, like this one:
Yes, that is a Tesco lorry, and yes, I drove for them for a spell while taxi-driving) so I was quite surprised to be offered a job driving class two (not articulated) lorries less than twenty four hours after I’d mass-applied. The job was for one of the country’s major retail companies, and the money was great, so I thought I’d give it a go.
So, sacked from taxiing on a Wednesday, offered an interview on a Thursday, went to the interview on the Friday, offered the job the following Monday…
Offered it on the condition that I moved to the mainland, because if I missed a boat over in the morning it would fuck up the whole day’s deliveries.
So I moved, with clothes in one bag, and PS4 in the other, I became a resident at my littlest sister’s and her family in Gosport.
My two month stay there was great. I felt like part of an immediate family again. Their dog became my best friend, always trying to sneak into my bedroom at night. Sometimes she got away with it. And I got to spend some time with my nieces, and it was fun!
But I always felt like a fifth wheel. Sorry, sixth wheel. Fifth wheels are damn usual to us truckers. Although, so are sixth wheels. Ok, I felt a little out of place, being a 41 year old man, missing his own kids, bunking on a spare bed with a dog that wasn’t his. But I was off and away from the island, and all the things that had been causing me issues.
On my first day at work, I was part of a three man crew… delivering to the Isle of Wight! I’d only been away a day! We started at 6 and the fun was so short we were on the midday boat back to Southampton.
I could get used to this.
But the easiness didn’t last long.
The next day our third man didn’t show up so I was thrown in at the deep end as a porter with a driver who’d only started the week before. Between us we had to figure out the process of calling the customer, filling a tonne of paperwork, and navigating our way around the longest route the firm undertook; Kingston upon Thames (KT). KT is a run that no one wants, not even the established drivers, because getting an 18 tonne lorry around it’s roads is an absolute pig of a job.
That day was a 15 hour shift. The next day was almost as bad… and the next…
With the 40 minute drive back to Gosport, some days I wouldn’t see my adopted family at all. I’d get back after they’d gone to bed, and be gone before they awoke. I’d say to them I felt like I was in the way at times, but my brother-in-law pointed out I was never there anyway!
The thing is, I didn’t really mind it. I didn’t have anyone to go home to, as such, so I welcomed the long hours and the chance to explore more of southern England and places I’d never been to before. Other than not seeing my girlfriend and my kids, I was pretty content.
And I was perfectly suited for the job. My time as a taxi driver, as well as my natural ability to talk to people, made me a hit with the customers. I’d often spend too long on a drop because I’d be laughing and joking with the customers, or they’d be divulging their life stories to me!
But, so far, no one’s managed to beat the Incident With The Chinaman. If you’re a fan on my Facebook page, you’ll recognise this as a “Today, on The Truck…’
Myself and my crew-mate (my fourth different one that week) (I’ll discuss crews another time) arrived at a big old house on the outskirts of London to deliver a tonne of laminate flooring. In the pissing rain.. I enjoy delivering flooring almost as much as I love delivering tiles. I fucking love tiles. As you’ll find out in later blogs.
The Chinaman met us at his door, nodding and smiling.
“Hello, Mr Yong,” I said (not his real name).
“Yes,” he said.
“Where would you like your flooring?”
He smiled, nodded, said “yes” again.
I turned to my crew-mate. “I need a piss bad,” I said. “What shall I do?”
My mate shrugged. He was as useful as Mr Yong.
“Can I use your bathroom?” I asked, and Mr Yong said “yes”.
“Where is it?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
I pointed at the house. “Bath. Room.” I said.
The Chinaman nodded and smiled. “Yes.”
My patience was almost out, and my bladder was way-too-full.
“Mr Yong,” I said. “I am going to piss my pants.” I pointed at his home again. “I need to go in there, before I deliver these–” I pointed at the flooring my crew-mate was lowering on my truck’s tail-lift.
Despite the drizzle, Mr Yong’s face lit up like a rising sun. “Ah! Yes, yes, yes!”
He beckoned me into the house. It was big on the outside, and an absolute labyrinth inside. Throughout the building, old wooden flooring creaked and groaned underfoot. No wonder he needed the new laminate we were delivering.
Mr Yong showed me into a room, empty of furniture, but with one corner crammed with kid’s toys. He pointed into the room. “Yes, yes, yes,” he kept saying.
I held up my hands. “I’m very confused,” I told him.
“Yes,” he said, pointing at the floor before the toys.
“I don’t think we’re ordering from the same takeaway menu,” I said.
There was only one thing for it. I’d have to mime taking a piss.
I made the ‘unzipping my fly’ motion with my hands, and Mr Yong looked puzzled. Was I going to have to mime pulling my dick as well? I’d make sure I’d mime pulling out a two-foot monstrosity, because, y’know, male pride and all that.
Mr Yong stared at me. Hard. Then his eyes widened and he said “yes”. For a change.
He led me into the next room, again pointing at a corner of flooring in an almost empty room.
I was about ready to piss myself.
“I. Need. To. Piss.” I said, again pretending to unzip, all the while debating if I was actually going to have to get my dick—
“AH-HA!” he yelled triumphantly, and I almost pissed myself in surprise. “YES!”
He gently pushed/pulled me deeper into the house and to an empty back room. He pointed into a corner again and said… well, you know what he said.
“I’m not pissing on your floor,” I said.
“Ah, yes, pish, pish!” he exclaimed.
Well, I hadn’t seen a bathroom, so…
“Ok,”I said. “Maybe it’s some weird Chinese custom I’m missing, but I’ll pish on your floor.”
Mr Yong left, muttering yes, yes, yes as he went. I was left alone in the room. I put away my imaginary two-foot penis and got out my real three-foot beast.
And, with a quick glance over either shoulder, I pissed in the corner of the room. It felt like heaven. And there was a lot of it. It’d been a long drive, y’know?
I made my way out of the complex building, past rooms I didn’t remember passing on the way in. As I neared the front door, another door opened, and my crew-mate walked out of a toilet.
“The fuck is that?” I asked him, pointing at the toilet.
“It’s a toilet,” he said, looking at the toilet.
He walked away. I stared dumbly into the little room as the door slowly clicked shut, then I followed him outside, feeling really fucking perplexed.
My crew-mate was picking up the laminate flooring and hoisting it onto his shoulder. I followed suit and followed him into the house. Mr Yong stood at the doorway of the first room he had told me to pish in. He pointed into it and my mate dropped his flooring on the exact spot Mr Yong had told me to pish on.
What the fuck was going on?
We loaded several of the laminate packs into the first room before Mr Yong indicated for us to load the next lot into another room… the second room he had told me to pish in.
We dropped about twenty packs of flooring before Mr Yong flapped his hands, said yes, yes, yes, and led us—laminate flooring in hand—to the third room where I had pished in the corner.
My mate put the flooring he carried down where indicated, right into my puddle of piss. He stood up, wiping his hands—his piss-soaked hands—on his jumper.
“Careful,” he said. “I think there’s a leak in here somewhere.”
I stared dumbly at him as he exited. I stared dumbly at the packs of flooring in my piss. I stared dumbly at Mr Yong who stood in the doorway saying yes and pointing at me to put my own load down on the wet floor.
I made another pile on a dry patch. Mr Yong looked unhappy about this and indicated the piss pile. I shrugged and made to leave the room, but not before I looked round and saw Mr Yong dip a finger into my piss and bring it up to his nose. I swear he even dabbed it on his tongue.
When we left, my mate and Mr Yong shook pissy hands. Mr Yong made to shake my hand. I hesitated, put on my glove, shook his hand.
He looked offended.
“Yes,” he said angrily.
I think I pished him off.