A young colleague on a recent video call asked me a pointed question in the presence of a dozen or so others.
“Have you gotten the vaccine yet?” he asked.
This was a few weeks ago when the target audience for the COVID vaccine in most states was health care workers, teachers and those 70 and older -- or maybe even 75.
My first thought was to tell him I have shoes older than him, but I realized that would only support any erroneous assumption he might have been making or whatever sarcastic banter he might wish to continue.
I decided to be light-hearted about it. I chuckled as I responded, telling him since he and I work together, he should know my occupation does not qualify me for a vaccine and surely he would not be implying I would be anywhere near the age of those otherwise eligible.
His back-pedaling soon commenced, with him allowing as to how he and I are in different states, and he was simply wondering about Tennessee’s criteria. (Have you heard of any state that started vaccinating all its citizens right of out the gate? Me either.)
But he had dug his hole. I am nothing if not good humored, so I let it pass without additional comment.
As for the vaccine, I’m ready when it is. I’m supposedly on the list with the county as well as my physician’s office. I’ll be rolling up my sleeve. But in spite of what my co-worker might think, there is still some time before they get to me.
As I ranted to my better half a few days ago, I am weary of conducting risk assessments each time I leave the house to go somewhere like Home Depot. I love Dr. Fauci and he would be on my short list of fantasy dinner guests, but I’m ready for him to have a break. (Although I am comforted President Biden is relying on his expertise.)
Although we have made family part of our bubble, we still refrain from virtually all inside socializing with any others. And if you’ve noticed the weather recently, you know getting together with folks outside is not happening unless we’re huddled around a fire.
Last week’s winter weather served to underscore the sense of isolation.
My older son in Atlanta had summoned my wife for some grandmother time, so she left last Sunday around noon before stuff started falling. Fortunately, she drove out of it as she drove south. As for me, it was hunkering-down time and I was on my own.
As you all know, we did not get the amount of snow predicted in that first round, but by Monday morning there was a nice layer of ice. My street was a solid sheet of it.
For the thousands of us now in the remote workforce, I guess you could say we experienced one of the downsides of that arrangement in that hazardous travel conditions are no longer equivalent to a day off. We don’t have to go anywhere, so It’s business as usual. I opened the blinds on the window by my desk and kept a close eye on what was happening outside.
In the evenings I continued with a book I’m reading (“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek,” which I highly recommend) and started “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix (also good.) And the meteorologists on Channel 4 became my new best friends.
By Wednesday I figured everything was packed down enough that I could get out of the driveway. I knew from previous winter weather experiences that, although the snowplows and salt trucks rarely make it to our end of the street, if I could navigate a block or so, I would reach dry ground where plows had done their magic.
I was right, and I made it fine. Since I had seen nary a mail truck since this had begun, I made a run to the post office to deposit a few notes for my wife before joining all the other thousands of Brentwood citizens at Kroger.
While it was busy, I must say the atmosphere was unusually pleasant and folks were jovial. It was nice to chat with other shoppers as we waited in line. I think we were all glad to be among humans other than family members (for me, I was glad to be among humans, period.)
I picked up my few provisions and made it back home safely.
But by Wednesday afternoon, the second wave arrived in the form of snow, and this time my friends at Channel 4 hit the nail on the head. We woke to a beautiful blanket of white Thursday morning and even had a couple more snow showers before the system moved out mid-afternoon.
As I write this Friday morning, the sun is out and what do you know? The snowplow just went by my house (thank you, City of Brentwood) and mail delivery followed shortly thereafter. We’re coming out of it.
It was a good week and I enjoyed the snow, but I’m tired of being alone. And I’m ready for this kind of winter weather to be behind us.
I’m hoping we will be taking outside walks again soon (without freezing.) At the appointed time, we will get our vaccines. Life might begin to feel something like normal, whatever that is.
I have a good feeling about spring of 2021 – even at my age.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].