Today I'm going to talk about grader drivers. Grader drivers hold a large part of my mind's life. Anyone who has ever lived down a gravel track will know what I mean.
The track to my house is ten gravel kilometres long, so six miles in the euro lingo. I travel this track every day, have done for the last seven years and sometimes it's just the fucking worst. It's my car that I feel most for, but secondly my mental health. Sometimes the corrugations and pot holes get so bad that I am crying by nearing home, knowing I'm contributing to the condition of the track as much as suffering those bastardy corrugations, that I'll pay with both travel and maintenance. It gets worse. Every year of driving the track, I pay for broken radiator mounts (three times now), new tyres, shock absorbers and all the shit I've lost off the back of the ute on the way.
Anyway, the grader driver came today. The grader driver is like this kinda Zen doctor who puts everything right with the world. That's how I see him. He grades the road so smooth and flawless that people like me fall at his feet in wonder and worship.
Grader drivers work alone in often lonely landscapes. They grade a road and may never know who silently thanks them for the work they do. They are like garbage collectors or nurses.
Today I pulled up beside the grader. It's a huge machine and he kept the engine running as I spoke. 'Thank you!' I yelled. ''I love grader drivers.'
I couldn't hear his reply over the grader but he was smiling and giving me a thumbs up. The rest of the track felt like I was floating. So smooth. This guy?