Margaritaville. What a name, and what a place.

I have run into all sorts of personalities in mainstream, and I don’t mean with my semi-truck. A few years back, I bounced around from job to job cooking, sewing, cleaning, and running errands. I was a regular servant girl, but I had BIG dreams!

Trucking saved my bacon. It got me out of the 9-5. It rescued me from the unpleasant aspect of social politics found in most traditional jobs. Trucking allowed me to escape servitude to the upper class pruney people with narrow eyes and pursed lips.

Yeah, before I became a truck driver, I had a difficult time finding steady work. Something about my prairie dress seemed to holler, “NOT FOR HIRE”.

After a lot, and I mean a LOT of experience trying to market my existing skills (which were many), I decided I had to get some new ones. After a little research, I discovered that trucking was the shortest route to financial freedom. I ignored all the naysayers who said I was nuts and got a CDL. After a few months of gear grinding and a little fence dinging, I became a pro!

Today, as I drive the peaceful stretch on the Ten between El Paso and San Antonio, I think back a few years ago when I was constantly struggling to meet payments and make a living. My goodness! The absence of financial stress is lovely. Whenever I recall those bygone days, it reminds me to be thankful I’m a truck driver.

One day way back in 2012 in Colorado, I answered an ad put out by a gent named Bob who was looking for a housekeeper. I called him up, and we had a nice chat. He said he liked the sound of my voice and thought I’d do a fine job. He said he was an avid hunter and offered to bring down a buck just for me.

I didn’t take Bob’s charm seriously, but hoped I could earn some money cleaning his house. We spoke several times over the next few days. Finally, Bob asked me to meet him to discuss my employment. I drove to the address he gave which ended up being a bar. I got out of my car to see a very fancy ivory Ford pick-up with all the chrome and leather trimmings.

A fine looking man with silver tipped hair got out, and I could see he was fit as a fiddle. I could smell his Roja Parfums cologne early on as I approached him. He was all gussied up in tight black denim Levis with a white silk shirt accompanied by a leather bolo tie with a shiny gold pendant and an impressive pair of Lucchese handmade crocodile boots. I pretended not to notice his over-the-top Brummel appearance.

Without preamble, Bob drawled with the deep sound of a Colorado cowboy. “Now, Maggie, what you need to do is get a phone job where people can hear yer voice, but nobody can see ya.”

I laughed heartily. That very rude comment which might have brought a more delicate lass to tears not only struck my funny bone, but wacked it a good one. Poor Bob. He thought he had found his lady love by the sound of her voice. But upon meeting her in person, she turned out to be a dull, overdressed, stick-in-the-mud FLDS lady in prairie garb.

Bob studied me intently and then offered to pay $100 to clean his house once a week.

“You’re hired!” I replied cheerfully.

“Now, Bob,” I drawled mimicking him. “What you need to do is make yourself scarce while I clean your house so you don’t have to look at me.”

He laughed. I tend to grow on people. I’ve never known anyone to fall in love with me at first sight. But I did find out that my voice has a power all its own. Looking back, I can count at least fifty times over the last eight years when some man got all weird over me and fell in love at first…sound.

One time I got a call from an insurance salesman, and I spent time chatting with him since I was in the market for insurance. The young man got sweeter and sweeter and finally told me he might be going through the area and thought we should meet.

“Right,” I thought. “That would be like a blind date between George Clooney and Eleanor Roosevelt.”

“I l-l-love your voice,” the young feller purred. “I can picture how you look by the sound of your voice.”

“Oh yeah?” I replied, “So how do I look?”

“Well…” he drawled in velvety tones, “You are small and sweet and spunky, maybe five feet, tiny with short brown hair, big brown eyes, and freckles.”

“Ya think?” I queried in a strangled tone since a burst of laughter had bubbled to the surface.

“How close did I come?” he asked seductively.

“Actually…” I began, mimicking his strawberry jam voice. “I am six feet tall with mousey hair and pooh green eyes. I weigh three hundred pounds and am a mud wrestler by trade.”

Silence.

“But you got the freckles right,” I assured him.

“But…” I couldn’t resist adding. “Some call them age spots, but they are irresistible.”

Silence. Click.

I burst out in mirth which soon progressed to a giggle fit. Laughter and more laughter. Yeah, as long as I’m long distance, I’m a knockout! Makes me giggle every time I think about it. You know, Bob was right. I need a phone job.

I cleaned Hunter Bob’s house three times, and he never absented himself. He was wealthy, but lonely, and needed someone to talk to. I was happy to oblige with good conversation while I cleaned house, but he got friendlier and friendlier. He had a fancy house with lots of extra rooms. Apparently, he overcame his aversion to my prairie dress appearance and invited me to move in with him, which I declined, of course, thank you very much.

I saw the signs of alcoholism everywhere in Bob’s house. Sometimes the garbage can held at least fifty empty beer bottles, and that was just one garbage can. The fourth time I went to clean, Bob was so drunk, he could barely stand. As I dusted his furniture, he stood up from his chair, swayed unsteadily, and staggered towards me.

Flinging his arms around me, he drawled, “I sh-sh-shore need a kish.”

I extricated myself from his aromatic embrace and assisted him back to his chair. Did you ever experience the heady mix of Sunset Rum booze with Maison Francis cologne? It’s a knockout.

I finished my chores, and left, staggering a little myself from second-hand inhalation.

Bob repeatedly serenaded me whether I liked it or not. Something along the lines of It’s five o’ clock somewhere in Margaritaville. Trouble was, for Bob, it was five o’ clock all day long.

The sun is hot and that old clock is movin’ slow and so am I

Workday passes like molasses in wintertime, but it’s July

I’m gettin’ paid by the hour, and older by the minute

My boss just pushed me over the limit

I’d like to call him somethin’, I think I’ll just call it a day

Pour me somethin’ tall and strong

Make it a Hurricane before I go insane

It’s only half past twelve, but I don’t care

It’s five o’clock somewhere

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville.

Bob always emphasized the “Margarita” part of ville. That’s what a school friend used to call me. My old nickname from childhood didn’t smell quite the same coming from Bob. After several boozy episodes with way too many hugging attempts, that was the end of house cleaning for Hunter Bob. And I continued bouncing from job to job until I discovered trucking.

Dang! Bob never did get me a buck. Men and their broken promises. Shoot.

House cleaning for a wealthy drunk in Margaritaville? Naaa.

Give me an eighteen wheeler and a long lonely stretch of road, and I’m happy as a clam.

 

 

From Stranger in a Strange Land

By Maggie Jessop