For my next interview, I chose a volunteer who I didn’t really know. Scott is a person I “know” through Twitter. We follow each other because of our mutual friend Joe. Scott drives a semi around the country and brings bags of potato chips back for Joe. (Joe has a weakness for potato chips. I am not sure if he’s looking for the perfect chip or just enjoys trying all the strange flavors that are available all over the country. My favorite chip is Chile Limon by Lays-pairs well with string cheese. I’m classy like that.) Scott and I had our first real conversation sitting at the high top at Liberty Market about two weeks before this interview so I could get a better sense of what kind of questions I wanted to ask him.
JM: Tell us a little about yourself.
SK: I am an East Coast (Florida-born, North Carolina-raised) Arizonan.
I am 29 (soon 30).
I am the oldest of 4 children (I have 2 sisters and a brother)
I drive a semi.
I LOVE music and I also write everyday (with the rare exception) and also take a camera (cheap point and shoot) with me wherever I go just in case I find something interesting to photograph. I also enjoy Twitter too. And things that have good design.
JM: You are a truck driver. I think that actually sounds romantic-driving the country, listening to music, eating at diners, meeting interesting people…tell us more about it and how you got into it.
SK: I got into truck driving only because I got bored with what I was doing (being a student at ASU) and was tired of not having money and bills for things I didn’t want to have to wait to pay without high interest payments, so I decided that my Plan B (school) was just not working and to go with my original plan (truck driving). I had decided a few years before what I liked and didn’t like and at least wanted to try for an education first. (I do have an Associate’s). But, that didn’t work, so I went to trucking. And that’s what I’ve done for around 3 and a half years now. It’s an okay job. Not too romantic as it IS a job with pressures and deadlines, MOUNDS of paperwork. It’s also essentially a retail job too in the sense it is all about customer service and the irregular odd hours I work. It is a good job though with pretty good pay for what I do. I could say I am proud of what I do, although, there is a few caveats. The stereotype of a trucker does hold true in some respects and it’s a strange culture too. The food is mostly fast food now and a lot of the truck stops are corporate chains. It’s kind of sad in a way.Tthat being said, I still like to find the few not corporate truck stops as often as I can. Usually, they’ll have different or regional food that I’m out looking for. That is why I like my job, I really do like it because I get to visit a lot of places most people don’t. America is a big beautiful place. It has everything. It really does. I’ve been nearly everywhere too, with the exception of Maine and Rhode Island. (I only drive 48 states.) I’ve seen some amazing things too. Lots of sunrises and sunsets. Seen lots of wildlife (a bald eagle in the wild!) and the changing of seasons too, although I don’t like driving in the winter. I’ve also been able to use what I do to visit places too like New Orleans and Salt Lake City and Santa Barbara and go enjoy a few baseball games (both major and minor league) in other cities too. I do like what I do. I’ve seen a lot.
JM: Have you made any friends in the trucking industry? Do you have a “handle” on the CB? (Is that what it’s called?)
SK: Not really. Trucking is still kind of like a brotherhood/camaraderie kind of a thing. Other truckers do talk with one another and usually it’s the same story (management/government regulations/complaining). That has also fallen by the wayside too. No, I don’t have a CB (and yes it is still called a handle). Reason why? There is honestly nothing good to listen too unless if you like listening to misogyny/xenophobia/homophobia/racism. It’s. Awful. When I did have one, this is all I heard. Just terrible. Thankfully, it shorted out and I never got one again.
JM: I’ve heard you’re supposed to flash your brights when passing a semi. Is that true?
SK: Yes and no. Depends on who you talk to. Cars do this if the person is impatient and don’t think I know they’re there. Trust me, I have 6 mirrors, I KNOW you’re there. Trucks do that (or dim their lights) to let the other truck has enough clearance to safely pass one another.
JM: What is your favorite part of the country?
SK: Ah, my favorite place(s) in America? It really depends. My favorite region of the US, by far, is the Pacific Northwest because of the beauty that is up there, particularly the Spokane, WA/Coeur d’Alene, ID area. It’s a perfect balance of city versus rural. Plus it’s green, all four seasons and weather is temperate enough and so are the people. I love it up there. But I’ve also enjoyed driving though the Bronx and watching the Sun start to rise through that part of NYC. It was almost like watching a movie. I also love driving along the Plains and being able to see “forever”. It’s an amazing sight. I also like being on the coast (Pacific, East or Gulf) and the smell of it. I love the smell of the ocean.
JM: You love music. How was that developed in your life? Who are your favorite bands?
SK: Music. Hmm, I’ve always been surrounded by music ever since I was little. Growing up as a kid in the South, it was mostly country that I listened too (we had 6 radio stations) and also growing up in a Christian household we listened to a lot of Christian music too, mostly contemporary Christian music, although my dad still had his record collection which was a lot of party-like 45′s (think Purple People Eater) and Stevie Wonder and his favorite country artist, Ronnie Milsap. Also, I did learn music as a kid, took piano lessons and I can still read (or at least figure out) musical notation. I’ve also taken guitar lessons at least 5 times, but it’s too time consuming, I’d rather enjoy music. That being said, I do enjoy it a lot. I’m always listening to something whether new or old. I’ve been collecting records (CD/vinyl) since about the time I moved here, about 13 years ago. I still love buying CDs mostly because it’s something you can hold onto, there’s artwork, liner notes. It’s much more than just a commodity or something you can download. It IS art. I really do love music though because of the way it can feel and make you feel too. See, I am more of a person who likes how a song is constructed (produced/mixed/built) versus what most people look for in a song (vocals/instruments). I look for what the music through its production and how it was produced is trying to say, what the underlying emotion is. And with that, a lot of the songs I enjoy are by artists who do it themselves or those who do a majority of their song craft themselves. I don’t really enjoy watching some corporate crap like “American Idol” because it is exactly what I hate about the modern music industry. Because there is no talent there, it’s all fake. Too me, it’s dehumanizing. It’s taking the person who has a great idea and warping it into a moment that maybe someone will remember for a few moments and then be forgotten. It’s sad to me. I like music that has more meaning and a lot less steps. I like the artist who shares his demos that he just recorded this morning just to see what other people think. That’s what I like.
JM: Who are some of your favorite musicians?
SK: Some of my favorite musicians/bands are Damien Jurado, Richard Swift, Starflyer 59, Radiohead, but generally I’ll listen to almost anything. *Almost*.
JM: Would you like to share an internet link?
Here’s my link(s): http://decknetwork.net/
It’s for The Deck, “The advertising network of creative, web and design culture”.
This is my link because I also like well-designed things and to me the websites served by this ad network are the best. My particular favorites are: kottke.org, waxy.org and themorningnews.org.
Also related: layertennis.com which is also brought to you by the same people who run The Deck. Layer Tennis is a great game of design. See the website for more information. It’s really neat.
Thank you to Scott for volunteering! Please feel free to ask him any questions you have in the comments below!