Image for post
Image for post
Antique Map

Banding Together: United Truck Lines

E.J. (“e-jay” I sometimes called him), seemed pleased with himself to have these new business cards, a kind of joke, with Layman printed as his title.

E.J. Applewhite: Layman.

One could almost here the “at large” as in: Layman At Large.

The deeper joke, behind the joke, is the Bureau of Public Roads allusion, as the ley lines were the pilgrimage tracks between hubs in the earlier global network systems. These were the first public roads.

The layers of ley lines predate the Romans, known for their road construction skills. Were these really public roads or did they belong to some local tyrant who might exact a toll, set up checkpoints?

Ed was very public about his history with the Agency (CIA) and he had the proper pedigree, was one of those Ivy League alumni, dwelling in Georgetown, and bouncing around in the District, a small town in the sense of illuminati per capita.

I’ll say Portland is jealous, or was.

Given the internet, where DARPA chips in, the whole topic of colluding cabals is somewhat “back to the drawing board” these days.

Along similar lines, I wouldn’t expect my Trucker Exchange Program or T4P (Truckers for Peace) or Truckers Without Borders or whatever it’s called, to be of only a marginal interest to contemporary leylanders, including among those working on the One Belt One Road project.

I was never sure what “Belt” meant exactly. I sometimes translate “Belt” as “Band” as a belt is also something that “goes around” (the belt one wears), same for band (or bandana). In English, the connotation of “band” is “smallish group of musicians” as in “rock band”.

So I sometimes hear One Road as the name of some rock band, and as an allusion to a global network of, you guessed it, public roads.

But then how public and what does “public” mean and so on? Cue the need for some intelligence.

You’ll find a lot more on T4P here on Medium. I’m following Gordon’s example (a Wanderer I know) in offering myself up as a trainee, willing to take on the cab of a truck as my PWS (personal workspace).

This self sacrificial offering goes back to my Bizmo Diaries blog, with a “bizmo” being a kind of “business mobile”, which any independent freelance truck most surely is, in negotiating its own fuel, clients, drive times and so on.

Maybe instead of an eighteen wheeler, I’d be in something more van-shaped. I always pictured something more like an RV, though perhaps smaller than a full sized motorhome.

Another Wanderer went full motorhome, and parked his bizmo behind the Pauling House during hurricane Katrina. He had high definition TV of the devastation, very state of the art.

However, my exact role in the storyboard is not especially critical I don’t think. As I’m into institution building, making myself somehow a critical lynchpin is not necessary to the design. I’m one of the screenwriters, a storyboarder, coming from theater / programming.

The financial sector might call it investment banking, I wouldn’t know for sure, depends on the subculture (or “cult” for short).

My perspective evolved from looking over the shoulder of another programmer, James, a stronger Visual FoxPro coder than I was, and I had achieved some mighty works in my day, as a solo developer.

Jim was above my level, and yet he was clear on the power of Python too, and wanted to transition by means of a hybrid codebase. He kept upping the amount of Python.

Although I had much of his magnum opus up and running on my computer at one point, I never became a true master of its secrets. So much for my exposure to trucking in midlife, towards the end of my career as an applications developer.

The One Road Network of The World is sectioned into segments, some might think in terms of jurisdictions (Latin Roman flavor), others in terms of bioregions or ecosystems, watersheds and so on.

The freeway systems around the world are definitely as much a part of the ecosystem as anything else in this vista. The tendency to define Nature as “other than Man” is more than a tad ridiculous.

Nature is not a British Romantic. Or is not only one of those. Nature is also oil spills and everything negative like slimey sicknesses. Nature is entropy at work, chipping away, breaking down, as much as she’s a creator, making everything new and fresh.

I supposed to some ears I’m sounding pantheistic and “where is God in all this?” and so on. Lets move those discussions to the truck stops, the hubs, which are more like those bars in Star Wars and other “many planet” movies.

For now, we’re tribes and cults aboard Planet Earth, and isn’t that a privilege to enjoy?

We have never shared One Road Network before.

Many would say we don’t now, anymore than we share the oceans. We’re competitive and in some to the death struggle against the other side, or sides.

Again, some intelligence was needed, some way of keeping the temperature less than feverish but above stone cold. Finding homeostasis is not something one solves, once and for all, after which comes retirement and rocking on the porch.

Individuals might approach it that way, without harm. Nature herself is eternally regenerative, or at least stays “on the job” over what we would call “geological time”.

How eternity intersects with geological time is what a layperson (gender neutral) might contemplate. Such is the stuff of meditation, while driving, while stopping to fuel up and catch up.

I’m imagining the airline industry has a lot to contribute, in terms of how to keep equipment humming, maximizing its worth over a lifetime. Miscalculations lead to a lot of wasted airplanes, condemned to airplane cemeteries before having a chance to see much if any sky.

Consider a trucking fleet dependent on batteries, which still take hours to charge. Consider a trucker with her or his own schedule and need for R&R. If you’re crew for an airline company, you’re used to hopping between airplanes.

You fly Boeing 7X7s for a living, or Airbuses, but you’re not expecting to work from the same cockpit (PWS) every day. The airplanes have their own trajectory through maintenance, between destinations, independently of the crews.

I’m not speaking for all airlines of course. Some have just the one airplane, or maybe two.

As a trucker, I arrive by airplane somewhere nearby, get my briefing, and collect my first truck, with no payload as yet. My counterpart will join me at the depot. We’ve worked together on previous trips.

My itinerary will be taking me from Istanbul to Kabul, over several weeks. However I’ll be riding in several cabs, driving only some of them, and some hubs I’ll be visiting for extended periods, taking various trainings and classes, teaching a few others.

This truck’s battery may be low in charge, however other trucks have already been through hours of charging and maintenance checks. As a driver, I don’t have to wait around for the equipment I was using to come back on line.

I may hop into a fresh truck and continue my journey, perhaps with the same payload as before, but not necessarily. Computers handle a lot of the routing.

Hubs are switchpoints. Lots of mixing and matching goes on, like in any “dating game” involving forming viable “substances” be these working trucks with crews, or cellular level amino acid chain proteins.

EJA had retired from his Agency before I met him, but was willing to dive into mine. I steered him towards the Center for Defense Information (CDI), a nonprofit run be retired military brass, some of whom had some curiosity about Cuba.

Once you’re off duty (inactive) you’re more able to freely explore your world, in many cases. Be that tourist you always dreamed of being. T4P is designed along the same lines, offering “working vacations” in the sense we hope most truckers come to relish their worldly experience.

I wasn’t working at CDI myself, but knew the archivist there, a former house and schoolmate. Since I was evidently friendly to Bucky and “the Bucky stuff”, EJA was eager to discover and join my network, such as it was. He would later visit me here in Portland, in the company of his wife June.

Although I’m not suggesting that T4P needs to wait for a green light from any specific intelligence community, before starting to gain traction as a university level topic, worthy of more storyboarding, I do think it inevitable that truckers will be seen as agents reporting back to various nebulous overseers.

I use “overseers” because that sounds both Quaker and evil at the same time. Quakers in my generation were wanting to wordsmith themselves free of “overseer” and “oversight” as too much baggage. Didn’t slaves have overseers? Will truckers be seen as slaves to hive mind intelligence gathering aliens?

We already know from the world of diplomacy, of embassies, that once you concentrate a lot of diplomats together, you get a lot of back channels and an exchange of secrets.

We have no reason, according the general systems theory, to expect the generic global trucker hub to be that different, even today.

We limit international exchange based on passports and visas, but a lot of intra-national exchange goes on, and we can’t always change drivers anytime a a new jurisdiction is announced, by means of some road sign.

Drivers cross county lines, state lines, other kinds of lines. The alchemy of diplomacy is required, and that includes observing the local environment and reporting back to some headquarters. That’s the essence of intelligence gathering right there.

Truckers are expected, like captains of ships, to keep various logs, which might be blogs, quite a few of which may be largely world readable. Lots of truckers are bloggers already.

Written by

Lots online.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store