I had to double-check the news just to make sure that it applied to California, but I did, and we were good to go. We are officially allowed to walk outside and go to the park without masks! The very first day that we had off, that’s what we did.
Every week I check the weather forecast to see if there is going to be a nice enough day. All year, it’s been touch-and-go. Sometimes, there will be one warm-weather day, and sometimes, that day will fall on the weekend. I plan our entire week around making sure we get to the park that day.
If there is only a two-hour window of warm and sunny weather, by gum, we’re going to be sitting in the middle of a grassy field and making the most of it.
It was glorious. 78F, not a cloud in the sky, flowers blooming, butterflies and bees and hummingbirds, the full springtime experience.
We walked down the trail to the park, and we didn’t have masks on, and nobody came near us, so it probably didn’t matter anyway.
We’ve both had our second shot. I wanted those shots, and I booked them the first day that I had permission, and I got there early. I’ve already started feeling the effects, as the sense of lingering illness that I have had over the past year has finally started to dissipate.
At the same time, though, I don’t know if I truly believe that it will work.
I talked it out with my husband. A hundred million people in the US have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and about 5600 have had breakthrough infections.
“That’s about one in twenty thousand,” he explained.
“Yeah, that feels like a big enough risk to me to still be careful,” I replied.
I was one of the first 400 COVID cases in California, a state with a population of nearly forty million people. I’m not great at math, but that’s... one in 100,000. I have no problem with being extra-cautious, considering that so far, most of the planning I thought was very conservative was nowhere near what we truly needed.
Storing food supplies for one month, for instance!
In February 2020, I thought we were planning very carefully and being smart.
What I’m worried about right now is the indication that the Pfizer vaccine might not be effective against the South African variant.
A vaccine-hesitant person might use that as some kind of excuse not to get the shot.
Not me. I see it as a laundry list of Pandemic Problems, most of which I have just crossed off by getting my jab. Let’s see, now all I need is a booster shot that covers that strain and I’ll be good to go.
I fully expect there to be annual boosters of the COVID vaccine, and I am ready and eager to roll up my sleeve.
I have two other plans for the future, considering that I’m 45 and a COVID survivor. One is to start getting the flu shot twice a year, once at the very beginning of flu season and the other six months later. Say, late September and again in February or March.
Although... it looks like all the social distancing and masking may be driving influenza to extinction all around the world. Even better, it looks like all this medical research may be bringing us a universal flu vaccine, which is magnificent!
If you’ve been paying attention, it looks like we may also be getting both an effective malaria vaccine and an HIV vaccine. Coronavirus bonanzas.
I said I have two plans for the future, and one is to get the flu shot twice a year instead of just once. The other is to ask my doctor what other vaccines are on the market and please can’t I have them?
I don’t think it will happen for us this year, but I do believe that eventually world travel will be back on the table. (I’m still sticking with my original prediction, circa March 2020, that the pandemic will last until January 2023). I am much more concerned now about picking up some random contagion now.
I’d far, far rather go through a course of multiple injections that just lock my door and never go anywhere interesting ever again.
These are the sorts of things I’m thinking about as I sit here in the park on a beautiful warm spring day.
The park is very busy. We got to watch a group of third-graders give each other presentations on the US presidents. They were so much more confident than I was at that age, or, to be honest, even thirty years later.
We sat off to the side, on an embankment that is too steep for much besides our inflatable chairs, and made up our own fake presidential facts.
“Teddy Roosevelt wrestled a moose,” I intoned.
Something we noticed is that there were far more kids in masks today than there have been any other time in the past year. Our region has been extremely sloppy about masking. It seems, though, that the news is getting out. COVID seems to be having a stronger effect on little kids. Did you see the story about the poor little boy who went on vacation with his vaccinated parents, and he died??
By this time next year, maybe testing will indicate that the COVID vaccine is safe for children as well. Or maybe there will be a formulation that is safe on infants. At that point, we can finally break the back of this stupid virus and drive it to extinction.
We noticed today that a few people were enjoying the new order, that it’s okay to go without masks outdoors like we are doing. I would have assumed that everyone would take advantage of that fact, that even unvaccinated people would just go bare-faced and assume nobody would call them out on it.
It would be useful if we had some kind of signal for who was vaccinated and who wasn’t, like a colored ribbon, although that system could be abused as well. For now, though, it seems like people are going for it. Mask if no vaccine, bare face if elite.
How weird would it be if suddenly wearing a mask started to become a signal that one was part of the vaccine resistance? If the hesitant or the politically motivated started using masks to indicate where their loyalties lie? I would think it would make a terrific canvas for various symbols or slogans, like a nice little DONT TREAD ON ME serpent. Instant Etsy income.
This has been a surprisingly great day. We’ve enjoyed relaxing in the fine spring weather and smelling the freshly mown grass. Now we’re going to walk down to the beach, pull our masks out of our pockets, and get takeout burritos.
The weather is hot, and I got my shot, so now I’ll have fun with barely a thought. And that’s a great feeling that cannot be bought.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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