Lockdown: The needle and the damage done

“Why are you so tense?” asked the nurse, filling a syringe from a nearly-fresh vial.

I looked her in the eye over my Oakland Athletics mask. “I am not going to complain to a hospital nurse about what a long year it’s been,” I said. “You’ve had a longer year than I have. But yeah. It’s been a long year for us all.”

She patted my arm and said she understood. Counted to three. Jabbed me on three and it was done. She told me to stay put for fifteen minutes and then check out.

My phone was in my pocket, and others waiting for their fifteen minutes to be up were all absorbed by their own phones.

I closed my eyes and said a short prayer of thanksgiving for this thing in my arm. And immediately thought of these past twelve months. First about my own isolation from friends, family, and coworkers, but then about half a million Americans dead, including the parents of at least three friends.

I thought about the ridiculous, utterly inept leadership by our federal government and the governments of certain other states.

Yeah. I’ve watched the national news religiously since this thing began, added to my already copious amounts of online news, and I’ve seen the weeping widowers and the speechless adult children, crying over lost parents.

And I just cried. Sat in my (astonishingly wide) stacking chair and let the tears flow into my mask. Another nurse came over to ask if anything was wrong. I said I was just emotional. She’s had a longer year than I have, but it’s been a long year for us all. She nodded quietly and moved on.

Then, of course, I got on my phone and wrote this down for Twitter.

I was still crying when I got to my car. Still crying as the rain came down in 55-gallon drums over Pali Highway.

I thought I might pick up dinner on my way home, perhaps stopping somewhere in Kaneohe (ooooh…KJ’s?) but I simply wasn’t in the mood. Got to my neighborhood, though, and kept driving, kind of angrily. My car loves to be driven angrily. It takes turns so well, and since it’s a stick it makes all kinds of noise as I downshift and accelerate into the many S-turns in my ‘hood or whip it around a corner.

Baskin-Robbins was in order. I thought of more gourmet options, of which many have sprung up in this town, but I was already back in Kalihi, and something normal seemed much more appropriate. Scoop of Jamoca; scoop of cookies and cream. In a cup.

When the going gets tough, the emotionally crippled get ice cream.

I wish it didn’t help, but it helped. So I picked up Korean food from Peppa’s in the same strip mall and went home.

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I was running on not enough sleep Monday morning and I don’t remember what I did for work in the first half of the day. Proposal stuff, most likely. I picked up a turkey sandwich on wheat from Subway for a late breakfast. Took a short nap for lunch.

Most of my department (marketing and communications) had a meeting with our planned giving office, working on some new ideas and discussing philosophies with that department’s new leader. It was a good meeting, and I like that my own ideas of storytelling click perfectly with the new leader’s. We’re going to get along well.

And then it was time to drive to Kailua for my shot. Except for the crying, it went well. Everything happened exactly as described in the email I received, and people were friendly and helpful.

I have an appointment for the second shot in three weeks. Christe eléison.

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I’d been listening to Extreme all day, the day I’m writing this, but was in the mood for something a little noisier and less familiar for writing this evening. I’m spinning So It Goes by Demoniac, a Chilean progressive thrash band I never heard of until moments before sitting down to write this. It’s been great for keeping the fingers typing and the words flowing. There’s too much good music out there I’ve never heard of. It’s a bit discouraging and saddening.

Everything is saddening these days. I’m so emo I don’t know what to do with myself lately. Music is helping, though. A certain joy I get very few other places flows through me when I put on a new band I’ve never heard and it turns out pretty dang good. Before I switched to Extreme, I had this Danish band Iotunn on repeat, beginning sometime Saturday. The Encyclopaedia Metallum calls them progressive power metal, but I hear a lot more black metal in their sound. Difficult to nail down since they veer from style to style. Pretty enjoyable, though, and soothing driving music.

I have other things to vent or wax poetic about, but I really want to write my review of On the Horizon this evening because not having it reviewed is keeping me from reading my next book, and it’s 1:25 in the morning. So I’m going to shift mindsets and do that, probably with Demoniac still playing. I usually don’t care for jazzy bass-playing, but it totally works in this band.

Oh I forgot to talk about texts. Crush Girl and I texted a few times. She responded to my Critics Choice Awards text from Sunday evening, and I texted her from my car right after my shot to tell her — actually anyone who might sympathize — how I was feeling.

There was more royals talk in the Suzanne-Julie-Cindy group text. I again kept out of it. Jennifer sent me a link to another orphaned baby otter photo. Adorable.

Leave a comment if you need someone to connect with. We’re getting shots in the arms by the millions, but we’re not safe yet. Don’t be alone if you don’t want to be.

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