Because why not start out with a terrible pun?
Today I took my first hit of the Pfizer vaccine.
It was a well-run operation, I have to say. I showed up at the hospital and followed the trail of prominent “Vaccine Clinic” signs that they’d set out so that the process wouldn’t get held up by hapless patients who can’t navigate a medical facility, which was nice, since I’m a hapless patient who can’t navigate a medical facility. Within a few feet of the door, I was greeted by a couple of workers lurking behind a giant sneezeguard.
One of them called me over and mumbled something that I had no hope of hearing, and so I absentmindedly leaned around the giant plastic shield to hear him better, at which point he told me that 1) he hated that damn thing, and 2) I needed to take a mask. Yes, I was already wearing a mask, but apparently I needed to either double bag it or just replace my current mask. Since he said I had the option to just use their mask, the issue was obviously not so much that they were adhering to the double masking standard as that they simply didn’t trust the mask I’d brought from home. I’m not sure if they were concerned I might’ve cheaped out on my mask, or if they didn’t approve of the freedom holes I’d poked through the fabric.
I then passed through a perfunctory security check and followed the arrows taped on the floor toward a trail of socially distanced dots stuck on the floor with labels about staying six feet apart that led between stanchions to the clinic proper, the net effect being reminiscent of having gotten magically sucked into a Milton Bradley creation. It’d be called Pandemic! and every third square would be labeled “People are stupid. Go back 10 spaces.” 
They ushered me in and out within a few minutes, managing the jab and scheduling the followup appointment faster than any routine procedure I’ve ever had before, and I followed the arrows to the detention center where they wait for the drugs to kill you. The Waiting Place was a lecture hall evocative of my college days, except the professor never arrived and, judging from the slide deck, the course was all about the myriad ways that the Pfizer vaccine can kill you.
Then, of course, just the waiting. There’s something poetic about the waiting at the end, since “waiting” feels like the theme of the entire pandemic. Waiting for the lockdown to end. Waiting for it to start again. Waiting for someone to develop a vaccine. Waiting for them to test it. Waiting for our age range to come up. Waiting for an appointment.
I left that Waiting Place, but I’m still in another one. The shot felt like a milestone, but it makes little practical difference at this point. I don’t even have a partial immune response yet, since I just got it. My second dose isn’t for three weeks. It’ll be two weeks after that before I’m properly “immune.” Even then, we don’t have the data yet to say whether vaccinated people can still infect the unvaccinated, which includes my son, whose history with the nebulizer means that we should minimize his risk of infection. So, milestone or no, I’m still here. Waiting.
You can probably blame Liam’s influence for the Oh, the Places You’ll Go reference, by the way. And, since Indiana’s Covid cases are on the rise again, it would appear that we won’t be going any places for the foreseeable future.
There actually is a board game called Pandemic, but since it predates our current pandemic, I rather suspect it’s full of excitement and the dogged pursuit of solutions, rather than depicting the modern notion of a pandemic, which is all about boredom, craven politicians fostering denial for their own gain, and relief that people have mostly stopped talking about Tiger King. ↩︎