I was a summer day in 2008 and I was on my way from Paris to Amsterdam on a Eurolines bus. The tiredness from a few intense days, which had included some fighting with some asshole cashiers at the Centre du Pompidou over a Sophie Calle book, was intense. I was absentmindedly looking through the sport section of the Guardian as we drove north on. On the right side of the bus we passed truck after truck in the dim evening light. Driver after driver sitting in their driver seat, some of them with a colleague next to them. I stared at them as we passed one after the other. When I got to Amsterdam I could not get those truck drivers out of my head. I tried to imagine their lives and how they saw Europe change from their driver seats and out of town warehouses. I even made a plan to shoot a documentary about them. But as I wrote last week in the introduction to my Dublin documentary, I mostly just did a lot of talking.
Enter November 1st 2011, I am home from work with a fever. In my Stockholm suburb I hunch in front of my lap top after checking my job email. I decide to have a look at Bodil Malmsten’s (the Swedish author I very randomly had a dream about recently) blog. In one of her recent posts she is angry that the Swedish road side libraries for truck drivers will get their funding cut. In the post she quotes an old novel she has written. There I see it: the same picture I had in front of my eyes that summer evening in 2008:
(my translation, for those of you who read Swedish click here to read the Swedish version)
I read about the closing of the roadside libraries and remember when I drove back and forth between France and Sweden.
And saw the truck drivers.
Often alone in their giant vehicle on the Autobahn. That they slept in their trucks at truck stops.
I wanted to write a monologue about a truck driver, let his voice be heard, but it only became another of all of my unfinished monologues.
In some strange way, sharing a similar unfinished thing made it all feel better. I think my fever even subsided a little.