I posted awhile back about recess at school. There was something that was unique to our school because of where it was located, and it meant that every recess held the possibility of having a very cool event occur – if the timing was just right and a random truck driver was in the mood to oblige a playground full of kids.
I lived in North Seattle in an area called Richmond Beach. My grade school was on the main route up from Puget Sound, and was only about a half a mile up from the water. There was a Standard Oil Refinery not far north of that where ships would off-load oil and then tanker trucks would haul gas/oil up out of Richmond Beach to deliver to various locations around the area.
These tanker trucks or just tankers, as we called them, came right up a long hill right next to the grade school playground. The playground was level with road at the top end, but had a huge built up wall that overlooked that hill at the other end nearer the water. There were always a few kids who seemed to be listening intently for the sound of the trucks chugging up the hill. The shout would ring out across the playground “TANKER!!!”, and instantly every kid out there would make for the fence that overlooked the road and clamor for a front row spot. And then, in an incredible unanimous uproar of children’s voices, the shouting would begin, and we would all start pumping our fists in an action to simulate the pulling of the air horn.
This would go on for what seemed – to us – an eternity before the driver would hopefully finally succumb to our insistent pleas and let go a long, loud blast. This was rewarded with a huge chorus of screams and cheers from the entire playground, and some happy “thank you” waves to the driver. It was so cool! We had all banded together and rallied for a common cause and made something happen! Yeah!
You know how when you’re a kid, you always think that when you grow up, you’ll become a teacher, and be a cool teacher that all the kids like? Or that you’ll be a bus driver and be a cool bus driver that everyone likes? Well, I added to that childhood fantasy the dream of becoming a tanker driver and being a cool tanker driver that everyone would like because I would always honk my air horn for kids on playgrounds whenever they asked.