The legend of women throwing themselves at rock stars may or may not be true, but we truckers see little of it. Our schedule, as I hope you’ve gathered, dictates sobriety and appalling hours – hardly conducive to assignations with the opposite sex.
And none of us are getting any younger, or distinguished. When we do go out on a night off, it’s often in a group where we sit in a huddle and leer, dribbling ever so slightly.
I’d like to think that the rest of the crew (lighting, sound, video crew etc.) fare a bit better with the odd hotel room at their disposal. But they also spend nights working and then travelling on a moving bus, on which it is bad form to invite drunken harlots. (Girls wanting to party on the bus disrupts other crew members’ sleep.)
So, we come full circle back to the topic of prostitutes. And La Jonquera, the Spanish frontier town on the border with southern France, is a splendid place to pick up the thread. Namibian asks to stop here, late at night, ostensibly for cheap cigarettes.
Actually, I’ll leave the thread where it is. Little Dick joins us at the BP pumps and is told, ‘No tobacco. Not after 11pm. Spain different country’. We may as well have remained on the motorway, then.
Now, it has been noted by certain factions that this job must interfere with my social life a bit. The argument holds water, I think, but then, without the job, I wouldn’t get to see all these chums round Europe.
After a dickens of a drive, today’s socialising involves both lunch and dinner appointments with friends. By anyone’s standards, it is a day of culinary excess for me while poor Namibian – now a mere skeleton – arrives in Catering just after they’ve cleared away the breakfast things.
Oh dear. He’s been up for hours, doing the right thing by remaining with his vehicle until it is unloaded, and he’s been penalised in the meals department for doing so. I sympathise, and talk of walking off double eggs and bacon before an extravagant lunch in town.
Ollie, my lunch appointment, is Swiss Julian’s brother, and he has quite understandably fallen for a Spanish bird. They now live happily in Barcelona where he is an architect-cum-web designer, currently working as the latter while construction withers in this global economic crisis.
He is persevering with a lone dreadlock that looks decidedly rebellious, which distracts me a bit as we chat. So we make him an artificial hat using a restaurant lamp.
After umpteen courses, an espresso and a pint of schnapps, the puff back up the hill – on the bike in the rain – is a killer. I think I’m going to need a lie-down before the next gastronomic onslaught. But I did briefly think of Namibian’s plight as I shovelled down the final course..