I was almost finished folding the last of the weekly laundry when Herb called out from his office, “Grab your laptop and meet me in the living room!”
At another time and place, my mind would have been confused by his urgent words, but in this predictable loop of daily life in pandemic land, I knew it could only mean one thing: Possibly, maybe, hopefully…vaccine appointments.
Herb had learned from a friend that Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play baseball, had just opened a window of appointments between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Sitting side-by-side on the sofa, dueling laptops firing at full speed, we filled out our information and pressed “send.” For a moment, it felt as if we were trying to score tickets to the hottest concert in town.
The results came in quickly: I secured a 1:30 slot; Herb secured a message saying all appointments were full.
Disappointed but determined to find a way through this game of vaccine lottery, Herb went back to the county’s website and pressed “refresh.” Over and over and over and over again. I’m not sure how long it took, but somewhere between all the refreshes, a new group of time slots magically appeared.
“I got 3:15!” Herb practically shouted. A year ago, I couldn’t possibly have imagined such euphoria over getting a vaccination appointment. Now, of course, it made perfect sense.
We headed to Petco Park with extra time to spare, not knowing how long the process would take or how backed-up it would be. Ironically, it proved to be wonderfully organized and efficient – a sharp contrast to our online experience. The Petco parking lot had been transformed, with rows of ocean blue street cones creating makeshift lanes and crisp white tents serving as medical stations.
A friendly attendant checked our driver’s licenses, verified our appointments and directed us to station #1, staffed by a group of firefighters. One quick poke and a Band-aid later, we were officially vaccinated and instructed to wait fifteen minutes before leaving to make sure any reactions or complications didn’t appear.
We were given vaccination cards with our dates and doses – golden tickets for future travel needs. Our remaining task would be booking a four-week-later second dose through an emailed link. There would be no scrambling for slots the second time around.
In six days, we will be returning to Petco Park for our second vaccine dose. Immunity against Covid-19 is projected to take hold about 14 days after that.
I’m not sure what this new-found protection will mean for our travel lives, especially in the near future and even later this year. There are still so many unanswerable questions, so many imaginings about what travel will look like and how we will navigate whatever this new normal will be.
But for now, it’s a start. A little glimmer of hope.
And that’s a very good feeling.