Saturday, November 7, 2009

Forklift Friday

It was forklift Friday for me today. I am most definitely an office worker, but in a small company there are times that you do whatever needs to get done.  On Fridays, I'm the only one here who knows how to drive the forklift. That is not a picture of our forklift.  The one in the picture is way cooler looking than ours.  Looks like you could go off road with that bad boy.

Today was an interesting challenge - find the one crate out of thirty-two on the pallet rack and take it down, all while maneuvering in a very tight space because the guys had left a whole bunch of stuff crowding the shelves in the warehouse. It would boring to explain it, but let's just say that it would have made a good YouTube video. The one where they play goofy circus music while you watch the dummy on the forklift - move forward, back up, move forward, back up, turn too far, pull the pallet halfway out, push it back in, move forward, back up, pull the lift up too fast and dent the shelf above, back up, move forward, turn too far, etc. There were also various scraping noises involved.  I did successfully get the 400 pound crate on the ground and nobody was killed.

The next task was to try to put the crate in the back of a guy's SUV.  Ha!  He did not witness the previous forklift episode, but I showed him the dented shelf and told him that was my handiwork.  But I was the only one here and if he wanted to try it, I was his only choice.  He was a risk-taker. We tried it.  It actually went well - no scraping or denting this time.  It just wasn't possible to do it without crushing the back door of his SUV. We jointly decided against that.

There was almost a third opportunity to drive the forklift today because we had a truck come to pick up two outgoing crate shipments. But I decided not to push my luck and let the truck driver do it.  I'm actually not a bad forklift driver. The pallet rack incident was the first time I felt stupid.

So how do I know how to drive a forklift?  Just had one of the guys show me - on-off, forward-backward, up-down. Not that hard.

I have always had a good amount of what you might call blind confidence.  I just never think that there is any reason I couldn't do something.  And if there are doubts, I have the ability to act like I know what I am doing, at least until I really figure it out.  I can't say that this has led to an exciting life full of daring escapades or stupid risks.  It just leads to things like trying to juggle eggs in Beth's kitchen when I was a kid.  I was sure I could do it!

Or driving from Boston to LA by myself in a borrowed car in five days when I was 24.  Stopped at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and the Grand Canyon.  The rest of it was just highways and motels. How could anything possibly have gone wrong there? (And nothing did!)

In college, driving the church van by myself in New York City to pick up the local disadvantaged youth and bring them to Sunday school. Going in to seedy looking apartment buildings to get them if they weren't waiting outside (even though the priest told me not to.)  I wasn't going to just leave them. How could anything bad have happened?  (Nothing ever did.)

Going into a crack house and watching a woman who was overdosing have seizures while I was training to be an EMT in New York City.  In this case, I wasn't actually required to do anything.  I was just riding along as part of the training.  How could I not pull that off?

Moving to California in my early twenties with no money, no job, using credit cards for everything and having only a friend's living room to sleep in.  How could that NOT be a recipe for success?  It all worked out exceptionally well.  Found a great job that made me an imaginary millionaire for a brief time.  Found a beautiful, rent-controlled apartment right in San Francisco and lived there for eight years.

Okay, maybe I have done some stupid things.  Now that I really start to think about it, there were plenty of stupid, risky things I have done based on my blind confidence that nothing bad could happen.  So I must be blessed or watched over by guardian angels.  I am grateful for that. They haven't had to work too hard lately.  My life has been relatively sedate these past years.

But you never know.  If I find myself in Beth's kitchen again, I might have to try that egg juggling trick just one more time.  I know I can do it!


Bethany said...

No eggs for you.
What a mess you made.
Bad Kathy.
I love this post.
I can see you driving the fork lift.

Joshua Bleier said...

It totally sucks that you know how to drive a forklift and I don't.

Kelly said...

Thank you for responding to my post on the picture posting issue. Can you please send me the instructions?
I am sure people can still get the pics but your everyday joe will at least have a harder time doing it. :) Thank you in advance.

Jennifer said...

I just wanted to tell you that I'm really enjoying your blog -- I found it today and started to read and kept on reading and reading... and reading! I've been nodding my head, laughing, and feeling touched too. Thank you for what you write. I'll be back often. :)

Jennifer said...

Oh - and I just read the last post on this page, which was the one about movies and kids, and I was in wholehearted agreement with everything you said. I hope you continue to work with children, because it is clear that you feel and understand them, and kids need grown-ups who get it.

Susan said...

Kathy, you are awesome... I love this post! I have always felt like I can do anything I put my mind to!! Always...never thought any differently...and then SLAM.. this was challenged in a way I never would have imagined... So what do I know now? I know that if I can't do it.. someone will do it for me. If I don't do it today, I'll probably be able to do it tomorrow. If I need to stop doing something, it probably wasn't that important anyway. If I get up and get dressed and get my day going, I will eventually be crawling into my beloved pj's and my wonderful bed. I know that I am different, but really, really the same.. just more grateful. Your story reminded me of this... can't wait to get up and drive my forklift tomorrow! Love you, Susan

grasshopper said...

Sue - YOU are awesome. Love you!