DEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to "Really Down in T-Town," whose truck-driving husband talks constantly. She said people dread it when they see him coming, and it has reached a point that she finds herself trying to avoid him at home.
The behavior she described sounds like it could be a symptom of adult ADHD. You were right to suggest that the husband might suffer from insecurity. ADHD will do that to you. However, like depression, it is a physiological problem rather than an emotional one. "Really Down" should have her husband assessed for adult ADHD. Therapy and medication can be a great help. My heart breaks for him. -- BEEN THERE IN CANADA
DEAR BEEN THERE: Thank you for the suggestion. That letter brought responses from many readers who viewed the problem in a different light. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: In my younger days I hitchhiked extensively from coast to coast. The longest rides were with truckers. They popped little white pills -- amphetamines -- to help them stay alert during long hauls. "Speed" is a great drug for loosening the tongue. The faster the mouth runs, the less discretion. Almost all of the drivers I rode with engaged in loud, nonstop talking. It took lots of patience to endure their rap -- but it was worth it to get where I was going.
Assuming that woman's description of her husband is accurate, he needs to detox -- the sooner the better. If he's at the point of driving others away, he's near "crashing" and could be unsafe on the road. In addition, his emotions could start seesawing, and he could become abusive. Please urge her to get him some help. -- BEEN THERE MYSELF IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR BEEN THERE: I'm printing your letter as a warning for those who might need one. However, readers with experience in the trucking business felt the wife should have more empathy for her spouse. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I work in the safety department of a large trucking company. It has been my experience that most drivers talk a lot. Our drivers are long-haul truckers, who often spend long, lonely hours, weeks at a time, on the road. They need contact with another human voice. When they call in to the company, given the chance, they'll talk for hours. They love to tell stories of their adventures, and I have found that if I listen, I learn a lot.
Perhaps "Down in T-Town" should make a few trips with her husband. It might change her perspective. If, after she spends some time with him on the road, the problem continues, I would ask him to talk to the family doctor. -- KATY IN SPRINGDALE, ARIZ.
DEAR KATY: You may be onto something. I have a stack of letters from truckers' wives, all saying the same thing. One woman wrote: "It takes a special person to be a truck driver. People who work in offices and restaurants have co-workers to talk to and become friends with. It may not be that the husband needs counseling. He may just be lonely."
A former dispatcher in South Carolina said: "When a trucker gets home, he wants to talk to his wife because he hasn't had any other human contact all day -- especially from someone who loves him. Please tell 'Really Down in T-Town' she should make time to sit down and talk. That way her husband can get the emotional attention he's craving."
I have to agree that it's worth a try.