Have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? Most people have. It’s basically a philosophy that states whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Nothing will go right, and it will seem like the cards are all stacked against you. Last week I had one of those days were it felt like the entire universe was out to get me.
I don’t want to say that it was a bad day, after all it was a a gift from God, and at the end of the day I still made it home safe. Every day that I am given is a gift. Was it an easy day? No. Were there frustrations and some complaints on my end? You betcha. Should I have had a better attitude throughout it all? Absolutely.
The day started off pretty simple. I got plenty of sleep, had a good breakfast and had an uneventful drive over to Seattle. I got into the port around 9 and encountered hardly any delays getting in. Within a few short minutes I was already checked in and heading to my designated drop spot. So far everything was going good, but just a little too good. That’s when I made my mistake. I started assuming that I would be out of the port in record time and be one of the first to get back and loaded in Lewiston. Well you know what happens when you assume, right?
It was at this moment that my day started its downhill descent. Murphy’s Law was about to strike!
I sat in my truck watching the loader grab an empty container from the stack. Suddenly, he motions to me that I need to backup. There’s a problem with his machine. Part of the lifting mechanism is jammed and they can’t get the gears unstuck. He has no choice but to sit there still attached to my container. Problem is that it’s at least 50 or 60 feet up in the air still! One of the maintenance workers comes out and starts to fiddle around inside the cab of the loader. Slowly they manage to bring the container back down to earth.
50 feet, 40 feet, 30 feet. It’s starting to come down. 20 feet. Almost there guys, should I line my chassis up to grab it? 10 feet. BAM!!!! The loader’s gears went out again and the can, still 10 feet up in the air, slams down hard on to the ground. This is not a good sign.
It takes a little more finagling but they finally get the container onto my chassis. Now I can get the heck out of here! I’m still feeling pretty confident that I would make a good time, because it was only 10:15 in the morning. I pulled forward and headed towards the exit.
After going through the large green shed with all the cameras and infrared lights, I then hopped on the scale and waited for the interactive computer screen to give me the all clear. I get the green light and it’s time to go!
I make my way down the line and turn right towards the exit guard shack. One of the security guards walks out and asks for my TWIC card. He then tells me to exit and park over to the right and await further instructions.
Huh? What the heck was he talking about? I had been giving the all clear and assumed that everything was fine. (There I go assuming again…)
“Okay, so it turns out you weren’t actually cleared for release. I need you to re-enter the facility and make your way back towards the exit. Go through the exit pedestals again, and then come see me.”
All right, fine. I complied with his instructions and made my way back through the port. I slowly zigzagged my way back to the exit and as I approached the guard shack, I kept waiting to see whether or not my new friend would come out and talk to me. Sure enough, he did.
“Okay, once again I need your twic card, and please pull forward and park over to the right.” I thought to myself, you’ve got to be kidding me. Seriously it was almost noon and I just wanted to get back and get reloaded. About five minutes later the security officer came back out, handed me my TWIC card and said that I was good to go.
I finally left the port excited as could be, and pulled over at the closest opportunity so I could do a visual inspection of the container. My first impression from the outside was that it looked pretty beat up, but I could tell by looking underneath that the floor was in one piece and there weren’t any holes in it. I would consider that a win in my book. However once I opened it up, my heart sank to the floor. At the base where the front of the container met the bottom with the floor, there was a large buckle in the metal with a two and a half foot long crack (most likely from being dropped.) I cursed under my breath. Now I had to find a way to turn around and re-enter the port. It was not going to be a fun adventure.
It took an additional 2 hours to get this whole mess sorted out. I had to re-enter the port, have the foreman inspect my can and confirm the damage, and then of course wait for further instructions. Finally everything got figured out. I was given a new container and was heading towards the exit for the third time that day.
I drove through the green shed once more, over the scale and through the final check gate. I turned right and approached the guard shack… and once again there was my security buddy patiently waiting for me.
Before he could even say a word, I already had my TWIC card in hand. As I handed it off to him, I said “let me guess. pull forward and park to the right?” Yup. He walked back over to the guard shack and a few minutes later returned with my TWIC card in hand. “Alright Sir, you’re good to go!” I looked at him and asked why hold me up if I’ve already been given the green light? Well it turns out why hasn’t given the green light I wasn’t actually getting cleared in their system. So each time I tried to leave my exit had to be manually cleared by security. Good to know, I guess? It was now 2pm and I desperately wanted to get the heck out of here. I did a quick inspection on the new container, and was happy to find it free of damage.
I didn’t get back to Lewiston until 7 p.m. The loading process itself took about 3 hours, and by the time I got home it was close to midnight. My day started at 3 in the morning, and ended at 11:45 pm. I entered the house dragging my feet and tried to find something quick for dinner. I kept thinking to myself, that today was a prime example of Murphy’s Law in action, because it felt like everything that could go wrong went wrong. However when I walked passed my prayer corner, I quickly realized it wasn’t Murphy’s Law that I was dealing with.
It was God.
I went through the entire day without a single offering of praise or thanks giving. Not only did I forget to pray, but I also forgot to ask for his help. I was too focused on my own little life and all the silly little things that distract me from having a proper relationship with the Lord. I tried to do my thing and didn’t even consider if God wanted to be a part of it. I try every morning thank God and ask for his help. I usually say a quick prayer, thanking God for another day and then I usually ask for his protection and that my experience in the ports be nice and smooth. I know some people may think that it’s a silly ritual, but I got to tell you when I do it, my day is usually much easier. Then there are the days I need to be reminded, and sometimes the best way to learn a lesson is to experience it.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. Life is easier when you allow God to be a part of it. When you remember to pray, even if it’s just a little prayer, your life will be made that much easier.
Well my friends, that’s all for now. Keep on rollin’ and I’ll see you next time.
Late night loading at the Port of Wilma