“We are not all in the same boat, but we are in the same storm.”
I’ve seen this quote multiple times on social media in the midst of Covid-19. A virus that supposedly was equal in its effect on people has impacted those marginalized in society more than those in the majority. Individuals with pre-existing conditions, including illness or financial instability, are dying at higher rates than those with more savings in the bank. Essential workers earning minimum wage at grocery stores, gas stations, drive-thru restaurants, and hospitals go home each night fearing they’ll spread an infection. Meanwhile those who wore suits two months ago are often safe behind computer screens as poor WiFi signals are the only major concern of the day.
My boat in somewhere between these two worlds. I currently have a job that allows me to work within my safe apartment walls…and that job is ending in three weeks. I have spent two months checking job boards during a pandemic. LinkedIn encourages me to be the 50th or 100th applicant to the position, and then Indeed suggests for the tenth time that I apply for a sales job in another state. I’m pretty sure Mac’s List has “lost my email address” since those updates went from daily to weekly to crickets. Basically my boat has a few weeks left of gasoline, and then will be dropping anchor to ride the waves for the rest of this storm. I have some savings in the bank, food in the pantry, and people who would let me stay in their boat if needed.
There are others who have yachts and pretend they in row boats, begging for sympathy that they only have the one swimming pool. Others have duct tape where wood should be, and yet they offer space on the bench for anyone to sit. A few of my friends are zooming around in tug boats, offering a socially distanced hello and hug to neighbors and friends. And still others are clinging onto the edge of a sail, trying to keep up with the high winds (especially teachers who have hundreds of little ones to watch the waves for).
There can be good in this storm. It comes from how we look at the boats we sit in and how we look at those around us. Time has changed for all of us, stretching and changing in new ways. “Want” and “need” are being redefined in laundry piles, dinner plans, movie choices, and phone call minutes. And the walls of a home, no matter how big or small, can offer the protection of a castle.
This is just me, standing in my boat and looking out over the waters. Hoping for the best for all the ships at sea.
“We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron, Star Wars: The Last Jedi). – #52sparks is my year-long writing series for 2020, based on an art prompt challenge. The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. This series is to explore what hundreds of inches and words can do.