I'm so tired of hearing people say "we're all in the same boat" as a way of getting others to think like they do, or in an attempt to bring us all together as one mind, body and thought. Or appearing to show empathy or just veiled hypocrisy. Especially when it comes to this covid thing, WE ARE NOT ALL IN THE SAME BOAT!
We are all on the same ocean, facing down the winds of the same hurricane, rocking and rolling against the fierceness of the storm but we are not all in the same boat.
Some of us are in luxury yachts with state-of-the-art stabilizers and navigational systems. The winds are blowing around the aerodynamically designed hull but the occupants are safely ensconced inside an air conditioned cabin where crew tend to their every need. Their yacht captain has years of experience riding out storms and in fact, has steered them clear of the worst and they are only experiencing the light outer bands of the storm. It's actually quite a pleasant day for sailing, if a little inconvenient. I am not in that boat. Are you? So we're not in the same boat.
Some of us are on large cruise ships, ten stories high, praying they do not get hit by a rogue wave even while watching a cabaret show or watching a film in the cozy theatre. The ship rolls more than usual and they have to hold on to the railings to climb the stairs because the elevators have been shut down. The dining room staff has indicated that the buffet will not be operating but room service is still available and the main dining room is open with all their favorites to choose from.
The pool bar is closed but the piano bar is still open. If the ship sounds two blasts of the horn, then they are to return to their cabins and stay put until the all clear is given. I am not in that boat. Are you? So we're not in the same boat.
Many of us are in fishing boats with 500 horsepower motors, trying to outrun the hurricane. We have just enough fuel to reach a safe shore, but time is short and our Captain is fairly inexperienced. In fact, we only just bought the boat and payments are still due. We could only afford the insurance with the highest deductible so we are praying that we make it with our lives and boat intact. There is a deserted island close by where we could possibly hunker down and ride out the storm but we only have enough food and water onboard for the two days we planned to be at sea and with no satellite phone, if we get stranded our corners will be dark! We can see from a distance that the island has many coconut trees so at least we wont die of thirst. I am possibly in this boat. Are you? If you're not then we're not in the same boat!
Then there are those who are battling the storm in canoes used by fishermen in the islands to set their fish pots and haul their daily catch to sell to waiting local customers and in the market. The canoe is taking on water for the rains are heavy and the tumultuous sea relentlessly rains salty water down on the exhausted crew. They are running out of fresh drinking water and their arms ache from their labors.
There are only six in the boat and a watchful pelican threatening to steal the fish they've caught. One person is manning the small 150 Watt outboard motor; two are bailing water as quickly as they can; one is checking the tarp and ropes tying down their limited supplies, one is praying while searching for land and the sixth was injured when he hit his head on the bench having been tossed aside like a rag doll by a wave. That last one is asleep or unconscious and time is running out. I am not in this boat. Are you? So, we're not in the same boat!
As together we struggle through this never-ending pandemic - and I don't know bout you but I'm struggling mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically - be compassionate please. (And now I'll mix my metaphors just for the heck of it. )We may all on the same ocean, fighting the same fight but we don't all have the benefit of karate training, or boxing gloves, or boat captains who know what the hell they are doing or even the mobility to fight. Be patient. Be kind. Show some love. Mi a beg oonu. because we are not all in the same boat!
Judith Falloon-Reid is an Author, Filmmaker, Poet, Media Personality & Inspirational Speaker.
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