Despite the lack of air conditioning at work in the area where my desk sits, I’m grateful for small mercies, even on a 32C day like today.
My husband’s office is a 580hp truck called Safely Home, hauling two huge fuel tank trailers, a total of 51,000 litres of diesel. His cab is air conditioned, so for the most part, his day is reasonably comfortable. But halfway through, when he delivers all this fuel to the mines, he has to stand in the full heat of the sun for nearly an hour while the load pumps out. And this is at the hottest part of the day. And today, at the mine, the forecast is for 38C… That’s just over 100F. To make it even more special, he’s wearing safety gear: helmet, long sleeved hi-vis shirt, steel toecap boots and long drill pants. And gloves. And safety glasses. I can’t understand how he tolerates it. And no, I don’t envy him his air conditioned cab. I wouldn’t swap my too hot and airless desk for his 45 minutes in the sun for anything.
He’s a good man, doing a mostly boring and occasionally dangerous job conscientiously, carefully and with goodwill. He has to haul his monster load on bad roads, up and down steep ranges, keeping a good look out for loose cattle, kangaroos, roadkill, carrion eaters, potholes and idiot drivers. He has to put to the back of his mind the fact that his load, if ignited, would burn at 1200C (2192F). And so do I. Yes, I know it’s harder to ignite diesel, but it can be done, as a recent tanker fire attests. Both vehicles were completely consumed down to the engine block. The metal burned. The engine block melted. The drivers of all three vehicles involved in this crash all made it out alive. Neither of the tanker drivers was at fault. It was the driver of a third vehicle, crossing the centre line, who caused the whole thing.
So, when I kiss him goodbye in the morning, I ask him to drive carefully and come home safely. I ask the big girl (Safely Home) to take good care of him on the road. I don’t grudge the time he spends giving her a bath at the end of the day, and I’m very happy to make a curtain for the cab’s back window to keep the sun off the back of his neck. They’re a good team.
PS: if you’re the owner of this photograph, please contact me so I can attribute it correctly.