I Like That The Boat Is Stuck

• 3 min read

It's bad that the boat is stuck. It's bad for lots of people and for lots of reasons. I know that. Please don't think that me liking the stuck boat is an ideological stance. This is not an opinion I have about boats, or about canals, or about things generally being stuck.

I Like That The Boat Is Stuck

It's bad that the boat is stuck. It's bad for lots of people and for lots of reasons. I know that. Please don't think that me liking the stuck boat is an ideological stance. This is not an opinion I have about boats, or about canals, or about things generally being stuck.

But I can't deny it: I like that the boat is stuck.

I like that, so far, we all seem to agree that the boat is stuck. There's no debate over whether or not the big boat is stuck: it is a big boat, and it is stuck, and we are all aware of those facts, even those of us who are currently located in outer space.

Furthermore, most of us share the opinion that it's disagreeable, logistically, for the boat to be stuck. The boat being stuck is inconvenient. It's a big disruption! Nobody can say it isn't a big disruption. None of my distant relatives will get into arguments on The Face Website about whether or not the stuck boat is making a nuisance for lots of people. I like that.

Another thing I like is that we know exactly what the problem is that is making the boat be stuck. It's a big boat, and it's stuck. Sure, shipping and manufacturing and boats and canals have lots of connections to varied and sundry historical and sociological issues – but this immediate problem, in front of us, is a stuck boat, and we can look at that problem for precisely what it is. It's not stuck for mysterious reasons related to a long history of humans cruelly exploiting other humans. It's not stuck because a politician wanted money from an organization that profits from human suffering. It's not stuck because someone pretending to be in favor of free speech is trying to promote hateful ideologies. It's stuck because it's big, bigger than the place where it is, and that's why it's stuck.

Unsticking the boat will require making the boat not be stuck. It won't take a year or more of isolation, or new heights of handwashing, or phone calls to legislators. It won't require the courage to face down militarized police forces or the gumption to get a shot that I know will make me feel a little bad before it makes me a lot safe. Nobody can tell me that if I just work a little harder or stop spending money on avocados or get a side hustle, the boat will get unstuck. If I did all of those things, perfectly right, right now, on tiptoes, there would still be a big stuck boat! Because those things aren't the things that need to happen. What needs to happen is: someone unsticks the boat.

It feels profoundly goofy to even discuss the big stuck boat. You can say those three words in any order and it will describe the situation:
Big stuck boat!
Boat BIG STUCK.
Big boat? Stuck.
Stuck boat BIG.

See? It's great. There's no way to phrase the fact of the boat being stuck that can miscommunicate the situation, or misrepresent it, or hide the reality of it, or maneuver it so it dehumanizes vulnerable people.

Again, there's a vast and sprawling ecosystem of current and historical horrors that made this situation possible – but we can't say that it's a situation that could never occur in a just world, because even in just worlds, things get stuck. Ducklings get stuck. Winnie the Pooh gets stuck! And now, the big boat is stuck. And I like it. I like knowing that there can be a big problem that's caused by something as straightforward and comprehensible as a stuck boat.

I hope the boat gets unstuck. I do. I hope that nobody gets hurt, and I extend that hope all the way through to every kind of hurt that's possible. And, selfishly and honestly, part of me hopes that nobody gets hurt so I can keep on liking that the big boat was stuck.

And maybe the boat can stay stuck for just a minute, so I can keep on cherishing a situation that makes sense.

The boat is stuck.

That's all there is to it.


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In the meantime, care for yourself and the people around you. Believe that the world can be better than it is now. Never give up.

—Gailey

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