Monday, 21 November 2011

One decision and it might have all been different

Here is a true story from the archives.

Getting chatted up was a regular occurrence when I was a trucker, only to be expected given that most of the people I came into contact with while working were of the male species. The young ladies of today go to great lengths to to get noticed by the opposite sex, they tart themselves up, stuff their bodies full of botox and silicone, and stagger around town on a Saturday night wearing very little clothing. I didn't have to do any of that. A pair of rigger boots, a hard hat and a big truck was all I needed to get them flocking around me.

I was unloading my cement tanker at a brick and block factory in Essex one afternoon, when another tanker pulled in from a rival firm, and backed in alongside me. After the driver had connected his hoses up and had started to unload, he came over to me and started chatting.

He was pleasant enough, quite a bit older than myself, nothing special, not the sort of man I would normally go for. My tanker was empty first so I switched everything off, disconnected the hose and put away my equipment. Brian carried on chatting to me, following me around the lorry as I was working. He asked if he could have my phone number.

‘Here we go again,’ I thought. “No,” I replied, “I don’t give it out to anyone.”. He was persistent and asked the same question several times, I was getting a bit irritated. In the end he asked if I would have his phone number and give him a ring sometime. I took the scrap of paper from him and shoved it in the bottom of my bag, promising to phone, and drove off.

It was about 6 months later when I was loading up at St Neots in the afternoon, for a delivery near Folkestone the following day. I knew I would have to have a night out, probably in Kent, then I remembered Brian, he lived near Rochester. I rang him from the cab phone, “Hi Brian, I’m on the M11 heading your way and I need to have a night out.”

“Great,” he replied, “There’s a layby a mile from my house, I’ll pick you up from there.” I knew where he meant because I had parked there when I used to take machinery to a power station on the Isle of Grain. He was waiting for me as I pulled in.

That night we went out to a cosy country pub for a meal. Surprisingly he was the perfect gentleman, considering how much effort he had put in to get my phone number. ‘He’s not so bad’, I thought, not exactly your Burt Reynolds, but a decent sort. Maybe if I got to know him I would warm to the kind heart he obviously had.

After a few months, things were going well. He was a widower, with a nice bungalow, two cars, one for work, and a Range Rover with a private plate, for leisure. He didn’t seem to be short of a bob or two. Since his wife died, Brian had made a very good job of looking after himself. His bungalow was immaculate, everything tidy and in it’s place, not a speck of dust anywhere. I started spending my weekends in Kent, and Brian treated me like a Princess.

He was a qualified chef and spent hours in the kitchen preparing a meal for me when I arrived, often with vegetables from his own garden. I met his family, and was invited to spend Christmas with them; everyone was very kind and made me feel welcome. I could see that Sugar Daddy, my pet name for him, was becoming very serious about our relationship.

Now at that time I was still a free spirit, my independence meant a lot to me, but I was beginning to feel trapped. It was very nice being treated like a princess by someone who obviously thought a lot of me, but I started to get panic attacks. ‘Let’s get married’, he would say, ‘You won’t have to go to work, you can ride around in my Range Rover all day’. I must admit I was tempted, but only for about five minutes.

Me, not work, but I like working, I can’t play the stay at home wife, clean the house, cook the meals, do the washing. The thought of it filled me with horror, not work! It was like a death sentence, the end of life as I know it. Besides, I didn’t like Kent very much, not sure why, just had a feeling about it, it’s too close to London.

When I said I couldn’t marry him because I loved my job, he offered an alternative, “Just come and live with me then,” he pleaded. I struggled with my conscience, I could probably take this man for all he had, and live a very comfortable life. All I had to do was go along with his dreams, act out his fantasy. Sugar Daddy was my passport to a better life, he adored me, and would do anything for me. But would it be a better life? It might be for a while, no mortgage to pay, no worries about earning enough money to meet the bills, it was all offered to me on a plate. Some women might jump at the chance.

But I couldn’t live a lie. My feelings for him were not as strong as his were for me, it wouldn’t be fair. I was very fond of him, a true, kind and honest man, but there was no spark, no madness, no spontaneity, it was all too predictable. I tried to explain, but I’m not sure he understood, he was of the old school, when women were grateful for the security of a good, hardworking man. The trouble was, I was a good hardworking man!

19 comments:

  1. He sounds lovely, but you were right to let him down gently as you did. A marriage has to be based on the right foundations and I'm sure, like me, you'd hate living as a stay-at-home wife!

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  2. I agree with what you did. It is not good to be married to someone you are not fully in love with just for a roof and nice treatment. You would not have been happy and things might have then fallen apart, making him very unhappy too.

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  3. Ooooo I love a romance! That's a lovely story, and I am so glad that you didn't settle, although I can certainly understand the moment's hesitation to do so. Your life sounds just wonderful and you most certainly have taken the right track :)

    I wonder what your life would have been like...

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  4. I wish more women would think like you did. Far too many marriages are based on what a person can get, rather than give. Thank you for honouring marriage and it's true meaning.
    Glad to know you.
    Jane x

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  5. A bit narrow minded saying you don't like a whole county!

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  6. Life really is all just a matter of chance.

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  7. If you like him enough to date him, sleep with him, join in family events, why not live with him? He knew you would not marry him. He really loved/liked you. You could have had a life without taking him for all he had. Women can turn down overly generous gifts. You did. You turned down his overly generous offer of not-working. He offered you an alternative. So, it did not sound like he was trying to trap you or change you.

    I am sure he would have paid someone to clean house and do all the things you did not want to do since he was so smitten with you.

    You have some fear. I have been divorced for 30 years. I know you have fear. I have fear, well-earned,..lol. The fears have changed as I have gotten older. Now, I fear a man's children as he describes them to me--druggies, won't leave home, respectable but have and always will have a key to his house and can come and go as they please, stealing from him....on and on.

    In the beginning, I turned down even a second date if a man mentioned starting a family....eeeek. Three pregnancies were enough.

    Now, I understand someone having a key to their father's home for an emergency only.

    I don't regret turning men down for marriage. I don't regret the offers of my moving in with a guy. Actually, someone would have to move in with me since I don't want to find myself homeless because I cannot abide another minute in his home...lol...it could happen.

    Consider...
    "Freedom's just another word for nothing else to lose..."
    "Me and Bobby Mcgee" by Janis Joplin

    Yes, I am prepared to live alone for the rest of my life rather than settle for someone. But, I had rather not. But, I will.

    Maybe we can find someone compatible when we are in the nursing home!

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  8. Sounds like you are happy with your choice and thats the main thing.

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  9. We all have the right to make decisions, they usually turn out for the best if you follow your first instinct.

    You really are an independent lady, something to be proud of.

    Sue xx

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  10. Ooooh "taking him for all he had" - ouch! Does everything have to come down to money?

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  11. I get the feeling you have no regrets. Good for you Ilona.
    I did laugh when I read "he asked if I would have his phone number and give him a ring sometime. I took the scrap of paper from him and shoved it in the bottom of my bag, promising to phone, and drove off"
    Thats what happened with my husband, I only rang him because my mate fancied his mate and kept nagging me. As it turns out, it was the wisest move I ever made.

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  12. Good decision,we wouldnt have our MQ blog to visit if you had!
    LOL
    I know just what you mean about living a lie. It is one thing to like a person and be sociable with them but quite another to be committed to them for life.
    It doesn't mean you don't love them ,it is just not THAT sort of love.

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  13. you would have been bored stiff after a few weeks and also beholden to him for every penny you wanted.

    Your independant lifestyle keeps you on your toes and at the end of the day you own your own remote control for the telly he!he! Whoops not sure if you even own your own telly

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  14. Right choice Ilona! You would soon have become bored with that sort of lifestyle and you wouldn't have felt you could have just gone off like you do now!

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  15. If people were as true to themselves as you are the divorce rate would be a bit lower. Forget all this "being treated like a princess" an equal respectful loving partnership is what we want not being spoiled and indulged like a little kid. If the situation was so flipping marvelous you would have married him but it was nt so you did nt and you seem to have no regrets.

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  16. If you had married him or even moved in with him you wouldnt have been true to yourself.You wouldnt have been happy no matter how much money there was available. Life is about so much more than money. You made the right choice.

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  17. You were true to yourself - good for you x

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  18. I love the strength of your convictions - were you always like that or did it take a while to "grow into yourself"?
    I'd also really enjoy learning how you ended up being a lorry driver and how long you worked as one.
    Many thanks for your wonderful blog.

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    1. Hi Anon. I think I was always like that. I made a descision quite early on, just after I left school, that I was going to work and earn my own living, pay my way, and look after myself. I did not want a man to pay for me and to keep me, or to sign on and claim benefits. It has worked well for me.

      I will look into writing a post about how I became a lorry driver.

      Thank you for reading my blog.

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