Use the belt, stupid

2009 October 21
by Stace

For the non-drivers out there, in the bunks of the cabs of semis are protective restraints for whomever might be trying to sleep in the bunk while another person is driving. It’s a big net-like thing that tents over the bed then connects to the body of the truck with varying numbers of seat belt clasps. Think of it as a seat belt for a sleeper … well, kind of. Whatever.

The idea of these gizmos is that if you are in a wreck or some sort of dust-up, you will be held within the confines of the bunk rather than being flung about the interior of the truck. Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

The truth for us, however, has been that they are too big a pain in the ass to use much. We have used them before, off and on, in other trucks, but not since we’ve had Maggie. See, if the restraints are in place, Maggie can’t jump in and out of the bed as she pleases. And the Hags are all about the freakin’ dog. Apparently. I wasn’t really aware of that until now, but it does seem to be the case.

Before Maggie, Hedon often used the restraints. She has a particular sensitivity to braking, and no matter how gently I touch the brakes, she will generally wake up if it’s repeated too often, such as in stop and go traffic. She found that by using the restraints, even though they are a big hassle, some of her fears of being flung out of the bed (totally unfounded fears, I must add), were relieved.

Good for her. But Maggie is more important, clearly, than worries about bunk flinging. The restraints in the current truck have never been pulled from under the mattress, and I’m not even sure how it hooks up, having never tried, but I can see a good five different clasps. Geez.

It’s funny that Hedon is so worried about being flung out of the bunk, since it has never happened to her. I, however, have been caught unawares several times (I was awake both times and sitting on the edge of the bunk), and Hedon has had to hit the brakes hard and sent me flying to the floor. These things happen. Nothing to be done about it. I’ve never been really hurt by it. Though you’d think I’d quit sitting on the edge of the damned bunk.

A few times I’ve been close to being tossed out of the bunk when I was sleeping, but it was always just a close call. Until this past weekend.

We were on I-44 between Tulsa, OK, and Joplin, MO. I had been happily sleeping away for about three hours. I was dreaming of making taco meat. I’d been having a real jones for tacos and we planned on stopping at the TA in Strafford, MO, to snag a few tacos at Taco Bell. The anticipation of the event had slipped happily into my dreams.

I was mashing away at the hamburger in the skillet, when all of a sudden, all hell broke loose. Next thing I know, I’m tumbling and flying through the air. For real. The next thing I see is my legs in the air, tangled in blankets, and Maggie leaping over my legs to clear the squishing disaster which would result from my landing atop her.

I landed ass down on the floor, in an area about three feet by three feet (we had the porta-potty sitting out on the floor, so less room than usual). Maggie hit the divider curtain. I had no idea what the hell had just happened. But I could hear the air horn blowing.

Next thing I know, Hedon’s yelling “Are you okay?” And I’m going, “You just flung me off the bunk! And I don’t know if I’m okay. I just woke up.”

She hit the shoulder and completed the braking which had led to my flinging.

Some idiot had decided at the last second, that even though he was in the hammer lane, that he needed to cut over to the cash lanes to pay his toll instead of going through the PikePass lanes. The jerk yanked over in front of Hedon and smashed on his brakes. Hedon braked and tried going left. The idiot went left. She tried going to the right. The moron went right.

Hedon estimates there couldn’t have been more than four inches between them when the numbnut finally accelerated and got out of her way. If that load hadn’t been so light (about 6,000 pounds is all), he would have been dead meat. And we would never have gotten our tacos.

Poor Hedon, she was very shaken by the whole thing. Probably it was one of the closest calls either of us have had.

But hey, this crap happens. Too many four-wheelers just don’t get it when it comes to what big trucks can and cannot do. We all know this. The pertinent point here is …

I was facing the back of the truck when Hedon hit the brakes. The force of it rolled me all the way over and flew me through the air and onto the floor. And I didn’t get hurt. Remarkable.

When I had thought of just such this thing happening, I had always imagined that I would whack my head on the cabinet that is next to the bunk. There just doesn’t seem to be any way around it. And yet, I didn’t hit my head. Somehow, when the force came, I must have automatically curled my body up into a ball tight enough that in the split second between rolling over and hitting the floor, my head was able to clear the cabinet. I landed on my butt in a kind of seated position.

I wish I had a slow-mo videotape of it. That would just have to be hilarious. Fat lady dreaming happily, then funny body twisting over in bed, launching into the air while simultaneously tucking into a chubby ball. A dog soaring over her through the air, as the fat lady creeps toward a closing butt bounce on a tiny square of floor. A YouTube sensation if I’ve ever heard one.

And all I’ve got to show for it is a sore thumb. I’ve got no idea what I might have hit it on, or if I landed on it funny. Not a whole lot of memory there. And Maggie is fine, too, even though she must have smacked that curtain pretty good and then dropped about four feet to the floor.

So now you’re probably thinking, maybe you Hags might want to use that bunk restraint in the future. I can see your point. I really should. We really should. So what if it’s a huge pain to untangle and hook up and unhook all the time. Who cares if the design is overly complicated and absurd to the point that an untrained monkey could have designed a better system. And to hell with the dog and her needs. Safety first.

That sounds perfectly rational and reasonable. I’ll take it under advisement.

But the point remains — Maggie and Hedon have some killer reflexes, but I’m clearly some kind of plus-sized gymnast savant. Imagine what I could do with a little training.

Oh, and if any of you are traveling I-44 in Oklahoma and see skid marks on the road before the PikePass lanes, yeah, those would be ours.

8 Responses
  1. 2009 October 21

    Well good grief! I couldn’t sleep and came over to read some Hags Editorials and found this.

    1. am so glad you all three are OK.

    2. that guy really sux.

    3. Hedon’s an excellent driver…you are an athlete when snoozing … maggie’s just fast.

    4. i think this story deserves to belong to the Truck Tales of Fame … sort of like Samuel Clement’s incredible Jumping Frog, Daniel Boone, and maybe something from Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

    5. because it’s just that amazing lol.

    • 2009 October 24

      LOL. And that guy really, really did suck.

  2. 2009 October 21

    Glad you’re all okay!

    • 2009 October 24

      Thx. I’ve been thinking of a new career … hmm.

  3. 2009 October 21
    Chaos permalink

    I’m really glad you guys are ok. Also, I laughed through most of this post. I know its awful, but I kept imagining you going flying and it just seemed like such an absurd thing to happen that I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m glad you guys are ok, and I guess I’m glad that the idiot is ok too…. stupid idiot. Man if you guys had gotten into a wreck because of him I woulda had to kick his rear. Love you guys. xoxo

    • 2009 October 24

      I laughed, too, so you’re right, it’s probably awful. :-)

  4. 2009 October 22

    yikes!….glad you are ok…all three of you!….i’ve never actually hit the floor but have come pretty darn close a couple of times….we tried using that net also but, like you say, it’s pretty much a pain….and babygirl seemed like she was afraid of it….lol…..stay safe out there!

    • 2009 October 24

      Thx. Good to know we’re not alone in ensuring our dogs have the smoothest ride possible.

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