Songs for the Struggling Artist


I Am a (Partially) Vaccinated Puppy
April 6, 2021, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Healthcare, pandemic | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I AM DOSED UP! I got a shot in the arm and I am feeling good. Feels good! Feels good! Just like Lionel Richie exclaimed on the radio in the waiting area as I waited for the man with the megaphone to call my number so I could book the appointment for the next dose.

After hearing the podcast where Sherry Turkle described her feeling of overwhelm in being with so many people at her vaccination center after all the months of isolation, I was worried I’d be a nervous wreck. But I was more like an excited puppy, truth be told.

I was excited like I was going to Disney World. And truthfully, I’ve been to Disney World and I was much more excited to get my vaccine than I was to see Mickey and Minnie.

I feel like, historically, I’ve thought of myself as an introvert but the way I perked up with all those people is making me reconsider. I was like a thirsty person who just came in to a bar from the desert. Yes I will drink that pitcher of water, thank you very much. And the pitcher of water is this group of people making it possible to get so many New Yorkers vaccinated. I will drink them ALL up.

I mean. To GET OUT OF OUR APARTMENT and go to a shitty high school and talk to MULTIPLE PEOPLE and get to say thank you to each and every one of them. I was giddy as hell to be there and when it was over, I couldn’t put my jacket back on because I was burning with relief. Was it relief? Or just a kind of joy at being with other people even in the most bureaucratic insane situation. Like, they’re all doing this incredibly tedious job of shuttling people from one place to another – and it’s for me, it’s like – I GET TO COME HERE AND GET A SHOT IN MY ARM THAT EVENTUALLY WILL ALLOW ME TO SEE PEOPLE I LOVE, TO DO STUFF AGAIN. HOW CAN I NOT JUST EFFUSE ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE? I TOOK THE SUBWAY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A YEAR AND IT WAS SCARY BUT ALSO MAYBE A LITTLE BIT EXCITING! HI EVERYONE! HELLO! I’m just…HELLO!

Yes – we are in a shitty high school with a shitty cafeteria and a shitty gym and a dirty restroom but I have spent many many hours teaching in such places (not the restroom!) so this was like a trip to the old shitty high school homestead. (But this one has planes parked in their yard?! Man, this school is weird.) I have walked in sunny to such rainy day places before and never have I ever valued that experience more. I know the vibes of school secretaries who are tired of everyone’s bullshit – but in this case – they’re not school secretaries, they’re people trying to move large numbers of humans through a complex maze of patient numbers, lines, second appointments and safety precautions. But it’s like – I walked into that school the way I’ve walked into many a school before it – ready to charm the school secretaries into giving me the key to the rest room. But this time – it worked. First, I didn’t need a key to get into the restroom and second no one working the vaccination site is as hardened as a school secretary. So I felt like a hot knife through butter.

But saying I went in there with my school energy makes it sound like I was doing an act at the vaccine center – and it was nothing of the sort. It was all a surprise to me. I came in fully prepared to freak out about all the people after so long in isolation. I thought I’d be shaking and huddled up in a corner and instead found myself radiating sunshine like a damn solar lantern. Did I fall in love with the nurse who gave me the vaccine? A little bit, yes. I was just so happy to be there and she got such a kick out of me being happy to be there, it was a really nice time. Sure, she stuck a needle in my arm – but she did it with love, man.

I keep hearing people being worried about what it will be like to see people in person again and I honestly have not for a moment worried about that, though I understand the feeling. (“Will I know how to small talk anymore? How do we hang out?”) I’ve been pretty sure I’ll be mostly just delighted to see all the humans I know and from what I’ve seen today, it seems likely that I’ll be an enthusiastic puppy. I mean, I know not to jump on people and I will do my best not to lick any faces but I will be ready to play.

Actual footage of me at my vaccination

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