So it seems. We are all hunkered down in our unsheltered bunkers, waiting. To hear latest information on virus behavior on vaccine rollout, on political news.
It is nearly impossible to describe mental moods surrounding the immanent possibility of obtaining a vaccine. An unease unlike anything else save the miseries of being lost in an unsettling dream. The sense of being alone, totally in a lottery of sorts that would determine success in finding a spot. Of not ever really knowing how that will come about. The clatter of helicopter blades overhead, circling and circling, atop the fiery screams of police cars and fire engines racing through the town. My town a village of sorts, the Capitol Hill residential world, and an address eight blocks from the Capitol itself now shrouded in military paraphernalia on thousands of camouflaged soldiers. How strong the sense of doom hangs over in the wake of what now is called an insurrection for lack of any real definition.
At the same time there is a desperate sense of impending deadline as vaccine becomes available but in unknown numbers of doses. The tightrope walk on the computer, figuring answers to a system that answers best to those familiar with government methods. How this mentored a crippling inhibition to thought. How when I had in my hand printed material directing me to a certain pharmacy where I would get a first injection I would misread the information and insist that my goal was a CVS and not what was clearly written down 'Safeway.' That I insisted on first glance that I had to be available for three hours, between 11 and 2 on a certain Sunday - when in fact I misread the line and neglected to see that I was due between 11 and 12 . That nerves trembling I went to the wrong place in spite of reading sign that said 'no vaccines here.' That an obliging CVS employe with an iPad in her hand gently corrected me and pointed to the Safeway across the street.This was after I thought to carry a folding stool with me, fearing I would be standing in line for three hours at the site written down on precious paper. And I only had got that far because I had thought to reve up my computer well ahead of the published start time for 65-and-older first appointments.
So, finally, a first shot and absolutely no reaction when even the gentle pharmacist in charge of administering the doses confessed he had had a sore arm for days and had to sleep on his back. Another friend confessed to the soreness and also to a bruise she attributed to 'thin old skin.' But no complaints until I was told that the second required Moderna shot would be given at another location. It was up to me to sign up, yet again, take my chances on a slot. Though at least I had proof of having a place in line at one of the three 'senior wellness centers' listed on the piece of paper he handed me. Another hangup: it wasn't explained that this still was a Safeway link and that the only browser I could use to connect with any one of the three centers was Chrome. Safari on my Mac was useless. We do live in a complex world when even such basics are not readily explained.
Overall continuing into inauguration day: why such an obsession with food, with recipes, and having to find work to do with my hands. It wasn't/isn't enough to open piles of books and dive into other worlds. The very real outside world made concentration difficult = but a clearly written recipe at least provided a sense of order and even some satisfaction. I could create something, whether good or bad. I could see progress that way, physical evidence of change. I painted out the stain on my bedroom ceiling caused by a link from my roof some weeks ago. I could clean my hands and feel relief. All this throughout the clattering stutter sound of helicopters overhead, the screaming sirens in the street, the sight of soldiers in camouflage on every other street where there weren't also parked police cars.
Some people are emotional, others intestinal I love quoting as a ritual to anyone wondering why a stomach can show upsets even when a mind appears calm. I have been in a third mode - the irrational - through days fraught with questions about violence and insults and uncertainties (mostly now about vaccine distribution). When thinking or sleeping does not improve the state of one's mind.
Then, lo, the curtain raises on what is purportedly a New Era, though staffed well with old hands under the new/old president. Still a lack of consolation, however, given the staggering numbers still in thrall to conspiracy and loss and whatever it is threatens minds that seem concocted out of fear. A strong sense of unease governs days shrouded in the Covid menace. It is little comfort to realize that, as of today, 1/24, I am one of only 810 residents in my DC Ward 6 who have been given a single vaccine shot - out of thousands who must keep trying. And the single shot isn't real protection except psychologically. Experts say the so-called protected person still can transmit virus (but not get deathly sick him/herself).
Stasis. Waiting. Wondering. All opportunity for pondering.
Useful fact to remember in the course of the day: That by 2050 some 2/3rds of the world's population will live in urban areas - though what is actually known as a city may yet be defined.