By Julia Zichello
I walked up the dreary gray avenue in January. My headphones were blasting:
I was feeling uncharacteristically happy and very “right there with it…” The cathedral looked gorgeous. And I pondered their sign that reads “LoveOverRules.” Did they mean to say “Love Overrules”? But the capital “R” makes it sound a little transgressive, which I liked. God I love this crazy beautiful horrible city.
I was on my way to get my first vaccine dose. And my buoyancy made me realize what a burden this has all been for the past few months, and even if I am “okay,” no one is really totally okay.
I arrived and stood on the line, bursting with hope and marveling at science and all the wonderful people who made this moment possible. Only, I was on the wrong line. I was ushered into a second line, the correct line, which was confusingly close to the proximity of the wrong line. Then I saw the facial expression of the medical professional, and even with the mask and face shield —I could see her “I am sorry” eyebrows. I was growing impatient as she spoke to an elderly woman ahead of me for a very long time. The words “no more” floated up like a bubble and after a few moments another one rose, and then… “POP”!
When I approached the desk I already knew what was up and I didn’t want this young medical professional to have to suffer at the hands of my healthy middle-aged educator complaints. So I told her I already overheard her and I know they have no more doses. She took down my information on a post-it note – one of the big rectangular ones. She said she didn’t know when, or if, they would be receiving more, but they would contact me if so. I saw her hand her colleague a sloppy stack of post-it notes with names on them. I don’t expect to hear from them again.
I walked out. I felt dejected but okay. Maybe I don’t deserve it anyway? Many people are in more dire need than me. I walked across 110th street and I started to tear up a little because something on the street made me miss someone. Seconds after my nostalgic tear tasted the air, some guy semi-accosted me on the sidewalk and lunged towards me with his eyes widened and no mask on. I swerved and kept walking. My heart pounded.
Then, I went to the store and bought some good cheese that was on “special.” I just don’t know about this city anymore. I really don’t. A part of me wants to leave, but not all of me. And I know the rest of the country and the world isn’t at its best either. I guess I received a dose of something today, it just wasn’t the vaccine.