I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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vicky sanzone has been a long-haul truck driver for nine years. Her father was a trucker, and she often jokes that driving is in her blood. Vicky also used to ride with her truck-driver boyfriend to keep him company. During these trips she decided to get her Class A license; she loved being out on the open road and longed to be behind the wheel instead of in the passenger’s seat.
At Vicky’s invitation I accompanied her on a weeklong route. When I arrived with all my camera equipment, Vicky laughed. “Girl, I can’t believe how much you packed.” After loading the cab, Vicky made sure her cat Simba was curled safely on the bunk, and the three of us headed out.
© Alexis Mann
that week Vicky was running “regional”: hauling freight up and down the East Coast. Truck stops along the way offer showers, restaurants, laundromats, movies, and even chapels. I witnessed a strong sense of community among Vicky and her fellow drivers, who spend extended periods away from family and friends.
federal law requires that truck drivers rest for ten out of every twenty-four hours. Before leaving the driver’s seat for the night, Vicky would pull out her logbook and make meticulous records of where she’d been, how many miles she’d covered, and how many hours she’d driven. The log entry completed, Vicky could think about dinner: a container of chicken-noodle soup, or maybe some lasagna packed in Tupperware, heated in her microwave. While she relaxed, she would nuzzle Simba, who had been circling the cab, waiting for Vicky’s attention.
vicky’s assignments sent us to Pennsylvania for dog food; to Massachusetts for pallets; to Maryland for blanket insulation and liquid sugar; and to New York for paper. We covered more than 2,700 miles. “Not bad,” Vicky said, smiling, as we drove the last few miles to her home in Maine. “It’s been a good week.”