My husband and I scored vaccination appointments early in the New Year. I had thought we might have to wait until the spring before they were available. We managed to navigate Orange County’s website and book first and second appointments. It did not matter we were unable to get simultaneous appointments; it did not matter the line to get the vaccine serpentined around the convention center; it did not matter we waited in our car for two hours. I would gratefully have waited in my car all day and night to be able to be vaccinated, as has been the case for too many people I’m seeing on the news.
I’ve started imagining what I might be able to do post-vaccination. Of course a mask will remain mandatory. I’m not assuming 70 to 90 percent of our strong willed country will agree to be vaccinated so I’m not hopeful of herd immunity being achieved any time soon. But aside from that I so look forward to re-establishing human connections. While I appreciate my canine connection, I miss being in proximity with my peeps. I’m often turned off by people who describe themselves as “huggers”. Typically those are the peripheral people in my life who broach my boundaries bestowing those awkward pecks and chest-to-chest embraces. But I must admit, that description aptly describes me (hopefully not the awkward smooches and squeezes part.) I love hugging people I care about.
As part of craving connections I’m so looking forward to the social aspects of dining out.
While we have managed outside eating, I’ve been afraid of dining inside a restaurant. And even though we live in Florida, dining outside subjects us to the elements. And some favorite haunts have quite limited outdoor seating. I’m tired of cooking and cleaning the kitchen. Even though there are only two of us we must run the dishwasher once a day.
I want to travel to see my kids. One visit in ten months simply doesn’t suffice. That has been a constant refrain from friends since the onset of the pandemic. “I miss my kids and grandchildren”. As I’ve wailed repeatedly, three of our kids and two grandchildren live away. We actually managed to visit southern and northern Illinois in two different visits. The first was by car; the second by plane. I posted this pic of the precautions we took to fly, not to mention the pre and post Covid tests.
So, once that second vaccine is in my arm I will jubilantly make multiple travel plans.
We cancelled plans to travel to Spain for our 30th wedding anniversary this spring. I remember my hesitation to cancel. “Oh I’m sure this will blow over,” I speculated to my husband. Spain had been spared the initial wave of the virus, unlike Italy and France. We were afraid the United States would close its borders, which of course it did. I seriously doubt we will be traveling internationally any time soon. I think we can’t underestimate the PTSD we will experience. I’ve become pretty attached to my home base and am not sure I want to move too far afield.
By no means has the pandemic been our friend, but there have been some pandemic pluses, including: (1) not having to apply make-up. I haven’t had mascara on since March. I suspect my eyes are enjoying the absence of those pigments and preservatives. Who needs blush or lipstick when our faces are covered? (2) I haven’t missed wearing a bra. Now, mind you I do put one on when I leave the house but there has been little danger of unexpected drop-ins so I’ve been enjoying my bra-free environs. (3) The absence of hard and fast schedules. As Peter Beagle of the Last Unicorn eloquently wrote:
“When I was alive, I believed as you do–that time was at least as real and solid as myself, and probably more so. I said 1:00 as though I could see it, and “Monday” as though I could find it on a map. Like everyone else, I lived in a house bricked up with seconds and minutes, weekends and New Year’s Days, and I never went outside until I died, because there was no other door. Now I know that I could have walked through walls.”
Is it possible the pandemic demanded we walk through a few walls? The jury may still be out on that question but I know it has caused me to re-evaluate my time priorities. The relaxing of time constraints has been as freeing as my bra-free home zone.
The Vaccine God’s smiled on us last Thursday. My husband accompanied me to my appointment and was able to get his shot at the same time. We were euphoric.
The morning following our vaccinations my husband told me he felt happy. “I don’t think I realized what a cloud this virus has been holding over my head. I guess I had been down.” Suddenly I felt like my post vaccine priorities enumerated above were frivolous. Keeping our health and those of others in good stead is what’s most important. Avoiding death and long-term virus after-affects is what counts. Dining inside a restaurant and plane travel pale compared with safe keeping for friends and family.
The pandemic’s pandemonium is far from over but hope is peeking out like daffodils sprouting from their underground bunkers. But don’t be in a hurry to wall up those extra doors we created during these past few months. They might just come in handy.