Once I had a godawful job working night shift at a store. On one particular night, I was supposed to haul a pallet of frozen meat from the stockroom to the freezer. Normally, when you have to pull something that heavy, you’re supposed to have someone behind to help by pushing, but I didn’t have a pusher for some reason. Just me and this pallet stacked high with box after box of steaks. It was all the same thing and they had the weight listed on the side of each box, so as I pulled I was able to calculate in my head just how heavy the load was. This many boxes wide times this many deep times this many pounds each. I forget the exact number but it was something around a ton, against my 110-odd pounds. Needless to say it was very difficult to put one foot in front of the other.
I inched forward, step by straining step, and kept going until I finally reached the entrance to the freezer, then I turned the pallet around and started to push it inside. There the floor dipped a bit because there was a drain, and you had to push it out of that and in through the freezer door. And I discovered I could not do it. The slope was only an inch or so but the pallet was so heavy and it was all I could do just to move it along straight. I had nothing left to give and though I threw my entire weight against the thing it was actually moving backwards. I had to leave the pallet and go get someone to help because that one obstacle, the little hollow where the drain was, had rendered my already difficult task impossible.
Since then I’ve thought of that moment often. There are a lot of times when I feel like I’m carrying so much around inside my head that one more thing and the whole structure will collapse.