A Trucker's Chapel

At Love's Truckstop off I-95 in Woodburn, OR

The wages of sin is death, he told me. But the love of Jesus Christ the Lord is your forgiveness. Later that night I got down from the sleeper in the cab and went and urinated in the tall grass behind the chapel. It was a clear night and I could see across the dark fields to some silos. Beyond them were dark mountains. I thought of the wages of sin. Then I thought of my wages of 32 cents a mile. I walked back through the rows of idling big rigs. The noise reminded me of how the cicadas got every seven years. I climbed up into the cab and went back to sleep. 


They Blew It Up

Of course my cb didnt work on that day either. It was on and off fr weeks. I was a fool to the scalemaster and payloader. When I asked him for 3/4 minus he told me something long and garbled. Whenever you can load me with it I said. He said more garbled stuff. Then he drove away. The quarry was empty. The crushers were not operating. The bulldozers had come off the mountain side. Nobody was in the excavator. Because the cb was out I had no idea what was going on. Then I saw a tiny drone rise up into the sky. It went up and up and then over to the side of the scaled off mountain. "5 minutes" something something I heard on the cb. Then I heard "1 minute" and somehing something. I realized the mountain was set to detonate. I was out in the middle of the quarry, alone, in my superdump. Aw hell, bring it down, I thought. Fuck it. Good a way as any. Then the mountain burped. A lateral section of it 1/2 way up exploded and came rumbling down. It seemed to happen in slow motion and then the muffled murmer reached me. The mountains were destroyed by an internal murmer. The drone moved in and surveyed what had been accomplished. Then the payloader drove back in. He didnt say anything on the cb. He loaded me with the 3/4 minus. Then he said something but I didnt understand that either.



Somewhere on Columbia Boulevard I missed the turn for St. John’s Bridge. I was loaded with 24 tons of screen sand, with the three pushers and Maxle arm down on the road. I lugged up a hill into a residential neighborhood and knew I was wrong. I pulled to the side of the road and put my flashers on. I had no map. I knew almost nothing of Portland. At trucking school they said to get out of the truck. They said not to panic. They said not to turn onto a street you can’t get it out of. I hadn’t done that yet but I was starting to panic. The fool I was to not have a good map of the city.

I climbed down and walked around the truck and took a deep breath. A truck this big and loaded was certainly prohibited in this area. If a cop saw me I was certain to be fined. This was bad, bad, bad. Still I hadn’t hit anything. It wasn’t yet lost. If only I could turn it around and get back to Columbia Boulevard I could try again for the bridge.

I got back into the cab, released the brake, and started the turn down another street. Because of the parked cars I couldn’t make it. I lifted the Maxle arm and backed up slowly, then pulled forward and put the arm down and made the turn. The low air warning buzzer went off blaring. I had dumped too much air pressure operating the Maxle. Stopped in the intersection I pushed down the throttle to get the air compressor going and to rebuild air pressure. Two little girls stopped playing and watched me. Three blocks ahead there was a busy street. I saw a cement truck pass. If only I could get to it.

At 70 psi the buzzer turned off. I started slowly down the street between the parked cars. I passed between them in first gear passing them within inches. A tree branch banged against the mirror. I took a deep breath. I came to the stop sign at Lombard and edged out into the heavy traffic, careful not to drive the trailing Maxle arm over the curb. I needed to go left and a sign indicated trucks heavier than 20,000 lbs were prohibited. I was well over that at 80,000 lbs. I didn’t see a cop and made the turn.

I hit Columbia Boulevard and joined the procession of trucks. I threw on the 4 cycle jake. I felt better now. Certainly the trucks knew where they were going. Certainly they would take me to the bridge. I was late for delivering the sand but that didn’t matter now.

But there was no sign for the bridge. The truck ahead went onto an overpass and I followed it into an industrial district. I was still lost and I would have to turn around again. I turned right into a cul de sac but the truck was too big to get around it. I lifted the Maxle, backed up, and put it down and started forward. The low air warning light and buzzer went off and the instrument panel lit up with red lights. In the mirror I saw there was something very wrong with the Maxle wheels. I jumped out of the truck and saw the Maxle tires folded under the metal arm. The wheels were twisted to the side and wedged between the pavement and the metal support of the arm. It looked ruined. Now I have destroyed it, I thought. And now it is lost. Everything is lost. I had only been driving for two weeks and everything was already in ruins.

I got back into the cab but there wasn’t air pressure to lift the Maxle arm. I sat there with the low air warning buzzer blaring and waited for the compressor to rebuild air pressure. When the gauge reached 100 psi I flipped the PTO and raised the Maxle. I got out and took a look at it. I saw it didn’t look damaged. I saw no cracks in the rods or along the important welds in the arm support. Perhaps I could put it down again. It was illegal to drive 24 tons without it down. Perhaps I could get it down and then I could find the bridge.

I climbed into the cab and lowered the Maxle. It watched it hit the ground in the mirror but I saw the mudflaps on the pavement. The secondary motion of the Maxle that extended the wheels out was not functioning. Then the low air warning buzzer went off again. I waited to air up to 100 psi and tried to lower the Maxle. But the same thing happened. The wheels of the Maxle were not extending out beyond the metal support. The low air warning buzzer went off again and I saw that the needle on the air pressure gauge was not rising beyond 105 psi. There was something wrong with the air going to the Maxle. I was dumping too much air to lower it.

I aired up and lowered it and stopped with the wheels just above the pavement. As I sat and watched the air pressure building on the gauge I heard a release of air and in the mirror I saw that the wheels had extended out. It was a miracle. I lowered the wheels to the pavement. Now I could move the load.

I started back down Lombard and went up the overpass. In this direction there was as a small sign for the truck route that I knew would lead me to the bridge. I followed the trucks ahead of me through the city streets and then over the bridge and into the industrial area on the other side of the river.

I was hours late when I made the dump at the cement plant in Linnton. I called Lenny the mechanic and explained the problem with the Maxle arm. Lenny told me to bring it up to Scappoose.

I turned in to the dusty, potholed yard jammed with banged up old Superdumps, transfer trailers, and piles of rusted truck parts and tires. In front of the garage Lenny was smashing at something with a tire iron. I got out and walked over. He ignored me. The tall bald man pounded on the tire rim and cursed. Lenny was furious. A purple faced guy with no teeth stood by and watched him.

Then Lenny turned to me, “Lemme look at it.”

I lowered the Maxle arm to just above the ground and turned off the truck. I explained the problem to Lenny.

“I’m gonna fucking fix it, alright?” he said. The man was very angry.

I stood back and watched him cut the air hose. The purple faced man mumbled something to Lenny. Lenny spit in the dust. Lenny removed a small metal box from the Maxle and walked back to the garage with the purple faced man.

They were gone a long time. I remembered what the old man had told me about getting on Lenny’s good side. I remembered the liquor store just before the yard and walked to it. I bought a fifth of whisky from the old woman inside and went back to the yard. Lenny and the purple faced man were doing something to the Maxle.

“Build air pressure and raise it,” Lenny told me. “Then lower it.”

I throttled it up to run the compressor and watched the needle on the gauge rise faster than I had ever seen it. I flipped the PTO and lowered the Maxle. It lowered properly and the wheels extended out. Hardly any air pressure was lost. Whatever Lenny had done had worked.

I got down and gave Lenny the brown bag with the bottle. He took the bottle out and smiled and I saw his rotten teeth. The purple faced man was smiling too. We were friends now.

“You’ll be here every week with that truck. That’s dump trucks,” said Lenny. “I’ve run dumps all my life and that’s what dumps do. Something breaks on ‘em every week.”

“Every week,” said the purple faced man.

“You can’t haul that kind of weight without something breaking every day,” said Lenny.

“Every day,” said the purple faced man.

“They just have a lifetime of breaking down.” Lenny spit in the dust. “You’ll just get used to it.”



Super Dump

2007 Freightliner Super Dump
 8LL tranny (18 speed), Jake Brake, 24 ton load capacity
Maxle Arm
Other men will tear up the earth and this man and his Super Dump truck will facilitate it. The fiat currency earned from this activity can be put towards the purchase of electronic devices used for the purposes of diversion as well as for short vacations to island resorts, the consumption of alcohol when not operating a commercial motor vehicle, the payment of rent, and the purchase of clothing according to the latest fashion.


Form of Life

One begins the silencing of his individuality through the suspension of judgement. The epoche lets the world be instead of tampering with it as Subjects do. The voices of consciousness--the voices of the state and science--are muted. A man regains the world and is no longer burdened with the responsibilities that the state and science have put upon him. There will be no more private languages. He will no longer be alone, cast off by the gods. He will no longer lay in bed inventing demons to torture him. His doubts will fade away, about his own conduct and about the world. His form of life will have changed and his language will change with it or be silenced. 


On Description & Explanation

“One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be – though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain – because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone.” – Spengler, Decline of the West

“Suddenly all those individuals who yesterday felt that "we" meant only their families, their professions, or perhaps their communities, become men of the nation. Their emotions and thoughts, their egos, that "something" within them, all are transformed: they have become historical.” – Spengler, Decline of the West

11. Accurate description is the revelation of character without explanation, theory, or justification. 

12. A story is a theory of why something happened, the descriptions being pawns in a series of causes and effects. Man looks for the story beyond the description; he makes description into something ornamental and secondary. He can no longer see the connections made by accurate descriptions set alongside each other (the blindness of autism).

15. ¨Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics, and leads the philosopher into complete darkness.¨ – Wittgenstein

16. The criticism that description cannot stand on its own is nonsense. Man has been so conditioned by theory that he remarks: ¨But there was no story.¨ He cannot accept that character produced from accurate description comes from nowhere.

17. A story is a craving for generality. The darkness of this age is that story is looked to for revelation rather than character.

21. The Greek fascination with tragedy was the fascination with justice: a rightness of conduct which could not be made legible by the laws of the State, that even ran contrary to those laws. A rightness of conduct that men felt but could not make legible. Tragedy: the confrontation of purity in character with the historical argument of law; an insoluble confrontation.

24. The question is two part: Whether one can accurately understand the development in ancient Greece from a making of poetry about the world to a scientific breaking it down into law (both natural and moral/state), and, secondly, with this understanding, whether someone captured and enthralled by science and the state, born into it, can walk himself back into poetry. Can this development be undone?

29. The bourgeois attitude in philosophy is that which accepts implicitly the structures and confines set up by legibility: the subject-object dichotomy; the responsibility of the individual; the protection racket of the State; the written word; Reason and explanation; the tyranny of science; the naming and the breaking down of the world into elements. These bourgeois philosophers are dependents of the state and its program of scientific legibility and so are unwilling or unable to see outside it. Their work only confirms the State, making it an a priori assumption about life.

38. Even descriptions are shot through today with implied explanation. No one takes an accurate description seriously – it cannot stand on its own. They would ask for something more. It must be combined in narrative and made reasonable: things held together in the world by a string of arguments, equations and stories. Man sets out to prove that ¨everything happens for a reason.¨

41. In a scientific age, tragedy becomes impossible. The last eye and ear accessible to its message has gone.
Copyright © Moraline Free