17 July 2012

The loneliest sounds in the world

To me, train noises are so fucking lonely. What's even lonelier to me, though, is the sound of a diesel engine, perhaps because I spent too many years clocking too many interstate miles in too many different cars. Alone.

Truckers spend miles and miles and miles staring at the highway, stretching out endlessly in front of them. I did some of that, too. (It's a part of my story that haunts me today, even years after the story changed direction. Maybe I'll talk about it some day. Mayb not.)

Now that I work in a truck stop, I hear the sound of diesel engines every day I work. (Like I don't get enough of that lonely sound every time Sunshine cranks his truck, even if I do truly love his truck.) It's just a lonely sound that speaks of lonely miles spent on the highway, watching the dotted lines between the lanes flash by like seconds ticking on the clock, counting down to that time when home is on the horizon and there are no more miles to clock for a few days.

It's a sad sound, the sound of a diesel engine. It's also one of those rare sounds that you will never mistake for anything else, like Harley-Davidson motorcycles and tornadoes. The smell of a diesel engine's exhaust is a lonely smell. What makes it lonelier is the way it mixes with the aroma of hot asphalt in the oppressive heat of the humid south.

The sound of a diesel engine is one of the loneliest sounds in the world. It makes me grateful to come home to a Sunshine and a Mollie who don't have to wait days and days for me to clock that last mile before I spot home through my windshield.

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