There was a shrill, screeching sound as the forklift worked to position a pallet of landscaping supplies onto the truck. Meanwhile, the forklift operator was trying to stop the truck’s over-weight alarm from sounding off. This prompted another attendant to pull out her calculator and rush her fingers across the screen to calculate weight and load numbers.
In moments, she reported that weight tolerance and safety were not a concern. In response, the forklift operator nodded his head in understanding. He next jumped down from his machine and lowered side boards on the truck bed so he could try a different approach.
He had been working from the rear of the truck and now recognized he couldn’t solve the problem from there. His actions announced a subtlety he recognized through experience. Weight was only one of two issues we were dealing with on this load; balance, though hidden from my inexperienced eye, could make the load manageable and secure.
The screeching began again as forklift operator lifted the load and then pushed it toward the front end of the truck’s bed. Once there, he let the truck assume the entire weight of the pallet — while holding his breath. The screech from the dragging pallet and the squawk from the weight-alarm both stopped. We gave each other a hopeful glance and smiled at the welcome silence.
I strapped the load in, climbed into the truck’s cab, started the engine and began driving to the drop point. Our work of calculating load capacity and actuating balance allowed my drive to be uneventful. That was the good news.
The bad news, however, was the forklift didn’t make the drive with me! Upon my arrival, I had a new weight and balance issue. I parked the truck, climbed into its bed and began to unload the two tons of material, one heavy bag at a time.
“Weight and balance problems seem to persist everywhere I go!” I said to myself as I worked.
After two days of struggled labor, I stepped back to survey the results of conquering weight and balance issues. The completed landscaping project had softened, balanced and beautified my yard. My ears remembered the shrill sound made by the forklift just a few days earlier. But my heart remembers more the lessons I learned about weight and balance.
Perhaps you and I could make our lives more joyful by completing our own weight and balance calculations. Maybe doing so would allow us to enjoy our life’s journey with a few more grateful smiles on our faces.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.