Stereotype: A not too bright, overweight, man who drives all day for a living, because he isn't good for much else. Or maybe he's the rough tough cowboy type like Kurt Russel in Big Trouble in Little China. At least, that is what the media and politicians have lead us all to believe.
Reality: I have met many truck drivers out on the road and they come from every possible background you can imagine. Doctors, Scientists, Mechanics, Programmers, Mothers with children, Fathers with children, preachers, millionaires, retired generals, retired soldiers (many I have spoken to find solace in the similarity to army life), business owners, politicians, people just trying to get that check, felons and drug users, alcoholics trying to clean themselves up which I admire. And yes, there are the farm boys, the people who like to stare out the window while driving without a thought on their mind and the old school cowboys that just love being out in the middle of nowhere. All of these people make up the billion dollar industry that is trucking.
As for staring out the window for hours upon end, which is what you see a driver doing as you pass him by in your car, it is anything but. As he is driving - especially in the city, a truck driver is watching the traffic patterns, prepared to break or swerve to get to safety (or save someone else - a trucker in Texas recently did just that and died doing it),
When he or she is not driving the truck driver is often either catching up on sleep or filling out paperwork (although much of this is done through Qualcomm (satelite messaging and tracking system), getting repairs or maintenance done, or catching up with the people at home. More often than not this means a wife and kids.