I got my second COVID vaccine yesterday, so this post might be a literal fever dream. Sorry.
It’s become almost cliché to say this, but do you ever snap back to reality and realize how weird things have become? Yesterday, I went to the place where London’s annual Western Fair is usually held. I passed the grounds where I’d normally be eating a deep-fried-bacon-wrapped-Snickers bar then letting rickety carnival rides spin me around until I barf it out. I entered the “agriplex,” where I’d normally be watching chicks hatching from eggs, smelling pig shit, and letting scorpions crawl on me at the bug exhibit.
Except now, there hasn’t been a fair in two years because a different sort of critter caused a deadly pandemic, which still makes gathering in large crowds a bad idea. No greasy foods, no rides, and the building that was previously full of chickens, pigs, and creepy-crawlies has been converted into a mass vaccination center.
In the exact place where I came face to face with the biggest horse I’d ever seen, a doctor injected a snippet of genetic material into my arm, where it will hijack my cells to create harmless replicas of the deadly virus, so that my other cells can recognize it and fight it if they ever come across the real thing. This is happening inside of me right now, and giving me a nasty headache, but it’s a good sort of hurt, like feeling pleasantly queasy after surviving a few flips through the air in a carnival ride. Totally worth it.
I hope the whirlwind of 2020 and 2021 will act as a vaccine for humanity. It seems to be happening slowly here in the middle of it, but I think history will show that 2-ish years is a pretty good pace for upending how we interact with each other and developing entirely new technology to inject into our arms and (hopefully) eliminate COVID as a worldwide threat. We learned that we are capable of fighting this one. Bigger threats are coming, as this summer’s extreme weather, floods, and wildfires are giving us a taste of, but with this vaccine swimming in my aching body, I have a bit more hope that humanity’s immune system will be able to face them.
This was originally posted on July 12 at Across the Board.