By holding up global trade to the tune of about $10 billion a day, the Ever Given, a gigantic container ship that became lodged in Egypt’s Suez Canal for nearly a week, affected us all. But beyond economics, the blockage also just, like, affected us, man.
The image of that tiny excavator working to dislodge a boat the size of the Death Star was the cathartic meme therapy every single person in the world needed. (Example: “Going on a daily walk” (excavator); “My COVID depression & anxiety” (ship).) The feeling of being trapped, of being stuck and unable to extricate yourself while the world seemingly backs up behind you? We relate, Evergreen Marine Corp.
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That’s right. The Taiwanese shipping company that operates the Ever Given shares a name with one of Colorado’s most idyllic Foothills towns. The connection was too strong to ignore.
So last week, we visited Evergreen (the town, not the company) to ask people there to describe the time in their lives they felt the most stuck. Some respondents were literal. Others philosophical. But with their answers, all of them revealed something greater about themselves—and, perhaps, humanity.
Andrea Glover, Tourist
Glover: I was in the mall, going down an escalator, and my pants were too long, and they got stuck on an escalator and caught. And I was like, Oh, no, I can’t get off! Finally someone ripped my pants and got me off of it.
5280: How did you feel being stuck that way?
I was so embarrassed, then I was scared, then it became relief. It got better toward the end, when he ripped my pants. But it was a new outfit, so that sucked.
Was it somebody that you knew who saved you?
It was. It was an ex. Ugh.
He saved my life, I guess.
Him being heroic, was that a turn-on?
Hell, no. That’s what he’s supposed to do.
He saved your life!
He’s supposed to save my life. He didn’t jump in front of a gun.
What sort of lesson did you take away from the experience?
Wear skinny-leg jeans.
Lacarol Glover, Tourist
Glover: Maybe not so much I was stuck, but something was stuck to me. I was delivering mail in somebody’s yard, and I stepped in some dog poop. I thought I wiped it off, but as I was driving to my next street, maybe five minutes later, I keep smelling this [editors’ note: Glover wrinkles nose]. So I just think it’s on my foot, and then I wiped my face and realized that there’s dog poo right under my nose, between my nose and my top lip. And on my sleeve of my arm. And on my mailbag. It wasn’t a stuck story, but something got stuck to me.
5280: That’s a lot of shit. What kind of dog was this?
It probably was the German Shepherd’s at 1752.
Did you know immediately when you had stepped in shit?
And what was your reaction upon stepping in the shit?
And what were your feelings about stepping in shit?
“Oh, shit. Not again.”
Was that when it was on your foot or when you found out you had smeared it on your lip?
Well, when it was on my foot, you have to look for puddles or something to kick your foot in [to clean the poop off your shoe]. But you’re going to smell that randomly through the day because it’s going to be stomped into your truck. But in this particular case, it was just too potent. And I knew that it was in my nose.
It was still wet?
Oh, hell, yeah.
How did your feelings change when you realized you had wiped it on your face?
I was glad that I didn’t lick it. And I was mad at the neighbors. Like, Why don’t they pick their dog’s shit up? And then I was thinking, I have to smell this all day.
It’s tough to not think about shit when it’s stuck to you.
And because I think a lot, I was wondering what the dog ate that day.
Jeanne Alt, Florist at The Holly Berry
Alt: I moved here six years ago. I’m originally from Chicago. I was stuck in Chicago, and I got tired of the weather. My daughter was out here for school and stayed. As soon as she told me she was pregnant, I said to Tom, my husband, Let’s sell the house and move to Colorado—where I got unstuck.
5280: So were you stuck in Chicago because you didn’t like Chicago?
I was born and raised in Chicago. I needed a change. I got stuck, and I just couldn’t move. Because I had other kids and there was so much responsibility there. But when a grandchild is coming….
What does it feel like to be stuck?
It’s exhausting. It feels like a weight on your shoulders that you can’t dismiss. It’s one of those—just like that boat. It’s a push and pull. Because you are pulled to somewhere else, but you’re not sure where you want to go. And then the pull is to stay home. To stay there.
What does it feel like to be unstuck?
It feels great. Freedom.
What unstuck you? Just moving? Or do you have to move in the right direction?
I think the right direction. When we came out here we didn’t know a soul. So we had to find ourselves here. We made friends. We hike every day now. The sun shines every day now. It’s so different than Chicago.
Do you ever miss Chicago? Do you ever miss being stuck?
Ashley Teasdale, Tattooed pedestrian
Teasdale: I always find myself in the worst parking predicaments. There have been multiples times when I have had to do a kind of Austin Powers, where I have to do that multiple times in and out of a spot. It always happens to me. So many times I’ve had to go to the people I was just seeing to get my car out for me. And I’m crying. I had to get my tattoo artist to get me unstuck out of a parking spot. I walked back into the shop, and I’m sobbing, and I’m like, Please help, there’s this van, and it was a whole 30-minute dilemma.
5280: Which tattoo were you getting?
I was actually getting this tattoo (see photo above). I had to get home and take care of my parents’ ducks because they were out of town. So I had to rush back before it got too dark, and I come out and this van is just stuck right next to my car. Then there’s this other car behind me. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been a part of.
You said you were crying when you went back into the tattoo parlor. What about it was so frustrating to you?
Because I had already been sitting there for, like, 15 minutes trying to get out.
Were you embarrassed? Frustrated?
All of the emotions. Frustration. Rage. Who is this person? Who is this person? People looking at me, saying that she’s crying. Oh is she going to hit the car? No, I didn’t hit the car!
Were you imagining people doing that or were people actually doing that?
It was probably pretty elevated in my mind because it was so stressful.
Were you embarrassed to have to ask for help?
Yes. That was part of it. But if I didn’t I wondered if I’d just end up there for the rest of my life. So I had to go back in. [My tattoo artist] sees me and he’s like, Oh, what happened? Because I’m just this little girl, crying. He and one of his co-workers, they had to do the OK, go back. Go forward. It was a lot of teamwork [to get her car unstuck].
So it wasn’t an embarrassing predicament. It was a real jam. It was just embarrassing to ask for help?
Oh, my gosh, absolutely.
Would you say in your life you have a difficult time asking for help?
Yes. All the time.
What does that say about you?
Oh, my gosh, I’m so stubborn. I like to do the thing myself. This is my lifelong challenge.
How did it feel to finally be free?
I was actually shaking because it was such an ordeal. I was hugging him and the other tattoo artist. It was the best feeling ever. It was just so dramatic, ya know?
Elisha Dawson, Parking attendant
Dawson: I just don’t know where to go from here as far as jobs.
5280: So you are currently stuck in your Suez Canal?
What are you doing for work now?
Just this. I also work at Safeway. Part-time, both jobs.
Do the jobs suck?
No, I like parts of both of them. They’re both kind of entertaining.
What makes you feel stuck? You’d like more financial security?
I suppose. Just to be working to progress toward retirement or get something more fulfilling.
Why are you stuck in these jobs?
Failure to commit to a direction to go. I look at [professions] and they have so much red tape around them or cost too much.
Can you give me an example of something you’ve looked at?
I guess airline piloting. You can get the pilot license, it isn’t too bad, but to actually get the commercial pilot license and make money it costs tens of thousands to get that schooling done. You don’t really want to take on money, fall $20,000 in debt, and then if you fail you have to owe that back. I can’t really find an answer right now.
What are you going to do?
I’m looking into trucking. I’ve just gone through so many things, and I think something’s good for a few days, and I look into it more and it’s not really. So, I just have faith in God, and that’s more important than anything really. Whether I don’t ever retire, even if I have to work all my life, we’re only here for a short time. Eternity is much bigger than this life.
So you don’t mind being stuck because you believe your faith will eventually set you free?
Yeah. I have faith that God will always take care of me. It won’t be too overwhelming where I just give up on life or something.