Shot in the Arm
At first I thought, Nope. No way, I’m out of here.
But I was on the list, didn’t want to risk getting off the list,
and well, I’d better hurry because it was only getting longer.
A year ago I would have never believed this was possible. At
work, when they kicked us out of the office, I thought it would blow over after
a few days, a week. But as my desk became something akin to a time capsule, as
a year looks to become a year and a half, well, like everyone, I’ve
This was is not a scene from a dystopian movie. This was
real. This was now.
My shoulders slumping, I fell in line, realizing there was no
way on earth would make it back before my lunch hour was up. I sent my boss a
message. She said to stay. Get the shot.
For five minutes I sulked. Ten. How did this happen? That I
would have to come out and wait here, with these masked people. Not for a massive sale on a TV or
computer or video game. But for a shot.
But as our line stepped forward, inching closer, things
changed. Yes, we were waiting for a shot. We were waiting.
And it dawned on me, right there in that amusement park line.
We. Not us. Not them. But we. In that line, money didn’t matter. Race didn’t
matter. Class, gender, employment status or past. Only health. Covid doesn’t discriminate.
Why should we? And so as BMW’s pulled up beside rusted out pickup trucks, our
line continued to inch for the door. We, a herd of hopefuls, headed for the
Yes, it was dystopian—the temperature gun deciding my fate
before I stood under florescent lights in some makeshift vaccine center where
an old department store used to be. Yes, it was still strange, even after a year
of everyone wearing masks, distancing, fighting to the death over politics
There were smiles, people making the best of it. Adapting. People
nodding in agreement with strangers. Strangers they never would have met had it
not been for this line. They laughed nervously. They talked about grandbabies, children,
elderly relatives, family, friends, hopes and dreams and expectations. We were
all there for the same reason. To live. To be healthy and enjoy those closest
As the line moved, I spoke with a woman about her retirement
and where she wanted to travel. Another few steps where two men talked cars. Stepping
again as a beaming older lady was worried about her 99 year old mother. I told
her how I worried for my grandmother, who’s 95 and not doing so great. I found
this lady again after our shots, where we talked about our arms, the soreness, when
we’d come back for our second shot. She was smiling, I could tell by her eyes.
She was smiling like she earned it. And I didn’t know this lady at all, what
she thought of the world and who she voted for, only that we’d spent two hours
in line together and we’d conquered that first shot. Only that her eyes were
crinkled with her smile. And you know what? I forgot all about the abandoned
store, the dystopian scene around us, the masks and the world around me. Because
I was smiling too.
Until I walked outside and realized I’d completely forgotten
where I parked.