The Suitcase Lady

Alligators

August 11, 2009, 10:53 pm

I recently took a road trip out West and saw a lot of alligators on the roads. These were not the reptilian kind. “Alligator” is trucker talk for the long rubber strips that explode off retread tires and litter the roads and shoulders.

All professions have their verbal shortcuts. When I worked in grocery stores, I learned that an “endcap” is that most desirable shelf space at the beginning of each aisle. At the library a “truck” was a book cart.

Diner lingo provides some of the most witty vocabulary. “A stack with Vermont and a blonde with sand” translates to pancakes with maple syrup and coffee with cream and sugar. Or how about “Adam and Eve on a raft, wreck ’em, and a spot with a twist.”  That’s two scrambled eggs on toast and tea with lemon.

I’m particularly fascinated by truckers’ jargon as I had a part time job for five years that involved driving big diesel straight trucks. I developed a sincere admiration for truckers and their skills… my own truck driving skills were marginal.

Here’s some over the road chat. If you need help translating it, befriend a trucker.

I was driving my reefer down the concrete slab, wishing I were bobtailing. A real window washer was rolling in, and a vulture appeared overhead just when I was thinking of putting down the hammer. Good thing there were lots of lollipop sticks along the road. I don’t mind those cat’s eyes looking out for me. It will be a long time before I see a coffeepot or my coffinbox. I’ve got miles to go and lots of alligators ahead. The last thing I need is a pumpkin.


3 Comments for this entry

  • TERRI

    WOW! WHAT A GREAT STORY. ONCE IN A WHILE I WISH I WAS ON THE ROAD JUST TRUCKIN’ ALONG. WOULD HAVE BEEN SOMETHING TO DO WHEN I WAS YOUNGER. GREAT STORY, MARY, KEEP UP THE LINGO, YOU’RE A GREAT STORY TELLER .LOVE YA,
    TERRI

  • LoieJ

    I’ve always wondered about those tire parts along a road: Did the trucker know it happened? How soon must the trucker do something about it? etc.

  • Mary

    Terri!

    There are days that we all wish we were taking a road trip with the radio turned up nice and loud!