Not Fiction…

I just got back from getting my flu shot at Rio Grande County Public Health. They had a clinic today. I was honestly a little freaked out about the adventure in the way adventures these days are smaller or greater freak outs.

They had set up about 8 tables — four for reception, filling out forms, looking at insurance cards, four for shots. The nurse said she liked my shirt (see above). She asked if I wanted the high dose and I said I did. Then I asked what’s the difference.

“We recommend it for seniors. It’s stronger, gives more immunity.”

“Yeah but I’m 24.”

“OK, but let’s not talk about it,” she answered. No one knows if anyone’s smiling any more.

I got my shot in my good arm. Arthritis is acting up majorly in the other one. I have always held stress, sadness and fear in my shoulders and neck and for the past few weeks they’ve been very painful making it hard to sleep at night. Arthritis responds to changes in weather, but also changes in personal “weather.”

“You’re brave,” she said.

“Comes with age,” I said. And I was out of there.

For a few moments, though, while I was waiting for her to find the right shot (“You got the last one!”) I watched a dozen people wearing masks and plastic shields, two layers of face protection, and plastic clothes over their clothes. They worked hard and fast, wiping down chairs and tables, taking care of sanitizing things to the best of their ability. There were a lot of people coming in to get shots. The workers had to hurry to get us all in and out safely for themselves and us.

COVID-19 cases have risen sharply in the San Luis Valley in the last ten days.

I thought of a friend’s blog post, “Topia” which somewhat spun off one of my blog posts. Now I’m spinning off his…

I don’t wear short sleeved shirts ever. I have ugly old lady arms, and I hate them, so, you know, out of sight out of mind, but for a flu shot? Short sleeves. I put on the only short sleeved shirt I have that doesn’t have holes in the armpits and is not a punk-band shirt. I didn’t think of what was silk-screened onto the shirt until I was there, in that room, watching these bizarrely outfitted, earnest people, cleaning everything, kindly helping one old farmer and his wife after another, keeping everything moving, kindly helping me, wiping the upper arms of old people clean and injecting them with extra-strong flu vaccines.

Then I thought of my shirt.

The novel from which Bladerunner was made was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. It’s a dystopian novel, portraying a dark future. My ONLY half-way decent not punk-band short-sleeved shirt is a pixilated sheep plugged into the wall. I suddenly perceived too intensely that I had arrived in a dark present. I wanted to cry.

I’m not brave. I just don’t want this to get me.