The day starts early.  Breakfast around 6:00, first roll call and briefing at 6:30, walk over to a clinic for the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical and drug test.  Physical got me a little nervous when they had to take my blood pressure twice to be sure it was low enough.  Then comes the hearing test and they start with my left ear and only play high frequency sounds.  I have 40% hearing loss in that ear, most of it in the high frequency range.  Fortunately the other ear was fine so I got through the test and I am not worried about the drug test.  It takes until nearly noon for everyone to get done so we spent a lot of time sitting around waiting.

Around noon we finally head over to the school, with a stop at Subway along the way.  Now is the time for lots of paperwork.  I hate writing my name, address and SSAN over and over and over.  You would think someone could computerize this or something.

The rest of the class members seem nice enough.  Of course we have the one who can talk to anyone about nothing and insists on doing it.  A couple of guys who just sit around trying to look tough.  The loud guy who like to talk about his exploits with his various wives.  Three former Texas corrections officers, one is a woman who was a guard for 16 years before she finally busted up an inmate so badly she decided it was time to move on.  For now we have 27 although I think we actually started out with 28 but someone didn’t get past the physical.  If averages keep up we will loose two or three more when the drug test results come back.  The class is mostly men, five women.  A mix of white, hispanic and black.  Ages from 21 to me.  One guy might be older or might just have had a rougher life.

Tomorrow we start actually learning some skills although they are more paperwork ones.  Keeping a log and doing trip planning.  I also have to bring along a diploma from school to avoid taking a skills test.  Not used to having to prove things like that.  After that we spend the next few days studying the CDL manual and taking practice tests.  Then five days of learning how to back up and parallel park and finally one day off.  Then five days of learning to shift, a couple of days out on the road, another day off, more days on the road and then the road test.

The other thing we do tomorrow is fill out paperwork about our convictions and they are not talking about personal ethics.  When it was pointed out we had to list any arrest of any kind ever no matter what the outcome was a great hue and cry went up.  The guy next to me said “You mean I got to write down every time I was arrested?”  The other interesting quote of the day came when someone was skimming the agenda for the day and saw a line item about sexual harassment. “Sexual harassment, what’s that?”  I am definitely traveling in a different circle.