I have a memory of when I was a little girl involving a tractor trailer truck. My family was driving into the little town of Swanton, Vermont. I was in the back seat with my brother. We were probably picking at each other as we often did in the car. My dad made some comment about the trucker that pulled out behind us. He must have cut someone off or done something...but I felt my dad's frustration and decided to make it known by giving the trucker the finger. I can't remember if Aaron told on me or I was caught by my parents. I honestly didn't even know what it meant except that it let people know you are really really angry. Oops. My parents went on to tell me that it was very rude and very dangerous to do. Something to the effect of "it's dangerous to egg on truckers". I was immediately instilled with the dread that he was going to find us and run us off the road or something.
As life went on, I had a pretty decent sized fear of truckers. On the highway, I would tense up if one pulled up beside me. If I was in the middle of 3 lanes and was sandwiched between two trucks I would hold my breath and slow down to get out of that precarious position. If I was going for a walk and a truck went by, I was sure they would pull over and steal me.
THEN...in college my car broke down on the side of I-76 on the way to Philadelphia. I was with Rene, I think her name was??? It was before every Tom, Dick, Harry...or Stacey had cell phones, so we were screwed...until...a big Mack Truck pulls up. "You girls need a hand". GULP. We went back and forth quickly with our eyes, then realized how unsafe we were on the shoulder of the highway in the dark. At least there were two of us. So, we got in the truck. The man was very kind. He took us to the next exit to a gas station and was on his way. We had even talked about the nervousness we felt getting into his truck and he reminded us that most truckers are on a strict schedule and were all business...not to fear.
Another time, my friend Karen and I were stranded in Nashville. We ended up riding several miles with a towtruck driver to the appropriate Saturn dealership (I think that's where we were heading). He was a very funny southern man with enough stories to keep you laughing for days.
All of this came to mind this morning as I was laying in bed, wishing away the alarm clock. I heard in the distance...either on the highway or the road that passes my apartment complex the sound of a truckers horn in the rhythm of the secret knock...honk honk honkhonkhonk honk honk. It sounded so friendly I could practically see the trucker grinning with a big cup o joe in his hand.
Prejudices are so silly.