‘Alice’ and ‘Dorothy’ compare notes
Human Error, Tides and the MAGA hat
I arrived a little late to the party and it took some time to realize that this gathering could go on for longer than any of us expected. These ‘guests’ were going to be delayed even after they had donned their coats, entered their vehicles and were ready to depart. Patience, something most of us have in short supply would rule the day.
Living on an Island necessitates ferry travel back and forth to the Mainland. This particular morning while checking in for the sailing, I had been advised there would be a delay. Once parked in my assigned lane, snippets of conversations could be heard through the open window. One woman saying that she had been waiting since 5:30 a.m. That meant that the first ferry had not yet sailed. I was booked on the second sailing, so realizing this would not be a short delay I grabbed my camera and headed down to the dock to discover what the holdup was.
Making my way to the dock I heard in passing that a truck was stuck on the ramp. “How bad could that be?” I mused. A monster tow truck was already in place and it looked like a quick and easy tow. The tow truck driver on his phone and the ferry personnel with hands on hips did give me pause, but…..
“What could possibly go wrong?” Quite a bit, as it turned out.
The wild card that shows up when you least expect it was in play. Humans and in this case human error had collided with Mother Nature. We would have to wait and watch as this perfect storm of man versus nature played out.
Walking to a different vantage point the situation with the stuck truck became so bizarre it was difficult to understand exactly what was unfolding. It was obvious that whatever was happening was beyond the ability or the control of the people in
charge to fix it.
“Houston, we have a problem.”
“How could this happen?”, was the only question that came to mind.
Later it was revealed that extreme tides had changed the angle of the loading ramp. The crew believed the truck had enough room to clear the upper deck and load onto the lower one.
Turns out they were wrong. In the end the only solution was to wait (on Mother Nature) 12 hours, when high tide changed the angle of the ramp sufficiently to have the truck towed back off the ramp.
Meanwhile hundreds of passengers where backing up hour after hour waiting for sailings that didn’t materialize. Those of us closest to the dock were treated to intermittent screeching sounds as parts of the truck were slowly crushed by the effect of the receding tide.
The excitement of the ‘truck incident’ mixed in with the impatience of the human cargo waiting to board produced a kind of party atmosphere. Once we realized that no amount of complaining was going to change the situation, most people made the best of where we found ourselves and the social barriers that are usually up, broke down in the face of a lengthy delay.
This incident happened in June 2016, hopefully you remember early 2016? ‘the good old days’ when we lived in a world where ‘weird shit’ and human error could be encapsulated in stories such as the one above.
This brings me to my one and only interaction with a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat. Tides turned, emergency ferries were brought in and many hours later I found myself in the coffee shop of the ferry finally heading home. The air on the boat was electric with relief and the afterglow of having been part of something out of the ordinary. Most people were cheerful and lively conversations between strangers were continuing.
I sat down with my coffee and looked around, seated next to me were two young men and on the table in full view was a MAGA hat. Even mid 2016 in Canada, the hat with all it’s connotations was very familiar. They looked like a friendly pair, I said “You’ve got to be kidding… can I take a photo?” They happily agreed.
A short conversation ensued and I learned they were cousins, students and both recent immigrants to the United States. One was a citizen and the other about to become one in Fall of 2016. Travelling around Canada and the U.S. for a month, they confessed to using the hat as bait to start conversations to get honest opinions from people. Mostly, they were hoping to understand the rationale of people who supported the man and the belief system that the red ball cap had come to symbolize.
As we spoke, laughed and got deeper into conversation, others were drawn in to our circle by the subject matter and the blazing red symbol propped on the table between us. By the time we neared our destination our small group had grown substantially and the discussion had become thoughtful, critical and as always politely Canadian. We parted with hugs all around wishing our new American friends good luck. One of them put on the hat and they headed off the boat towards the West Coast of Vancouver Island. I’ve thought about those two young men often since that day and how things have changed in the three years since that meeting. The man who distributed the MAGA hats won the election against all odds. I do not have to describe to anyone the rough seas that have been endured since that day.
Human error, tides and the MAGA hat. Looking back on that day, the three things that seemed random at the time have fused together in my mind. Human error and the hats are events and objects that come and go depending on the situation. The tides however are constant although sometimes fluctuating between very high and very low.
It feels like our collective ‘truck’ has been stuck for a while waiting for the rising tide, but there is no doubt that the tide is rising. I hear it in the voices of the people who are standing up and speaking ‘truth to power’. I see it in the young people who are standing up and speaking for a planet that has no voice. There is a feeling of
inequality that is hard to shake, but there is truth both economically and spiritually in the statement …
“A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”
© westcoastwoman 2009