Sometimes late at night, when I'm laying in my bunk and can't sleep, I open my window a crack and listen to the young guys and girls on our crew partying.
I chuckle to myself when I'm listening to them, all their shit talk, laughing, music. They say youth is wasted on the young. I don't think so. I'm not jealous of them, it's there time, I had mine, I want them to have fun.
I get a kick out of their attitudes though, they are me, 20 years ago. Sometimes they like to give me a hard time....the young ones.
"Hey Dad, you sure you don't wanna beer?"
And I say, "Fuck, I've spilled more beer than you've had the time to drink yet, you little bitch."
Tim and Donny are two brothers on the road, we've kind of adopted each other in a way. When we're traveling to a new spot and pull in at a truckstop, I'm always introducing them to the waitress as "My two asshole sons". I then remind them in front of the waitress that they're both "The loads there Mamma should have swallowed".
I've yet to meet a waitress that didn't crack up when I say that. They all think the boys are my kids. I guess they and some of the other young ones are the closest I'll ever come to having kids.
I'm always there for them as best I can be. I'm usually a buffer between a lot of the younger Carnies and the boss. He doesn't seem to remember being young and stupid and has very little patience with the younger ones among us.
He constantly mistakes fear for respect, this is a mistake, fear is not loyal, it works in the short term. Respect is built on caring, people know when you really care for them or not. Even when I lose my temper the odd time, and am extremely harsh, the young ones know I care. I remember being their age so well, like it was yesterday.
So I lay there listening to them, and I fall asleep to their laughter, it's music to me.