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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

"Shots in the Arm: Money in the Pocket"

I like it. It's catchy. Maybe the Dems are on to something. Maybe they won't miss the Lincoln Project--the brain trust behind the effective but now defunct Republicans Against Trump. Maybe just maybe, they've figured out that the repetition of short, easy-to-remember tag lines over and over and over again will make their way into, in this case, people's arms and into their pockets. (This is a test: what's the first catchy slogan of the last year that comes to mind? I bet I know the answer.)

I'm one of the lucky ones who has been fully vaccinated. I got my second Moderna shot in the arm almost three weeks ago and am as protected against Corona19 as one can be. For now.

So, how do I feel now that I'm one of 33 million-plus Americans--that's over 10% of the adult population--who have been fully vaccinated? Lucky, relieved, blessed . . . Maybe there are more advantages to being a senior than I'd previously thought. Oh, I should add reckless to that list. Okay, just a wee bit. I went bombing into DSW yesterday (the first time I've been inside any other store except Whole Foods and Walgreens for more than a few minutes), walked through the front glass doors, and heard a loud voice say "Please put on your mask." For God's sake: I'd forgotten my mask! I'd left it in the car like a dirty rag that I've kept on the floor for months.

I apologized profusely, ran to my car, grabbed a mask, and hooked the elastic around each ear. "I'm so sorry," I muttered once back in the store. "I guess being fully vaccinated has made me a bit careless." No response. The salesperson was either pissed or jealous.

Lesson #One: "Don't Leave Home Without It." (I'm not talking about your American Express card.)

The C.D.C. issued new guidelines last week for those who have been fully vaccinated. OMG! They said that we could spend time INDOORS w/o masks with other folks who've also had their shots. I actually picked out my back-to-the-world outfit--a pair of funky black and white pants that bellow at the knees and taper at the ankles, wool tights, my Josef Siebel black boots with red laces, and a fitted black sweater that accentuates the newly-restored waistline curves now that I've become a Nooner.

Lesson #Two: Play The Get-Out-Of-Jail Card whenever it's safe

Today, yes, this very day, my husband and I had our first taste of the New World. We sat around friends' small kitchen island and munched on food that we'd brought for lunch. In mid-sentence, I instinctively put my hand up to my face to readjust my mask, to make sure that I was securely covered. But there was no mask! It took a moment or two before I realized that this was the first time since the weather turned cold that I'd been inside with anyone other than my husband, son, and one friend with whom I'd created a baby pod back in April 2020. (I love you all, I truly do. But here's to expanding the circle.)

Funny, but all the distance and boredom and fear magically disappeared as if there had never been a Pandemic. All those months without a dance class that is so important for my mental and physical well-being. All those hours and hours staring at the TV because there was nothing else I could/wanted to do. All the times when I craved being with friends upfront and personal, not just on Zoom or on the phone. And, yes, the fear of contracting Covid or of someone I love getting sick.

Sadly, there are millions of family members and friends who did lose a loved one due to Covid. Their worst nightmares came true. I can't imagine their pain, pain magnified by the fact that so much could have been done to prevent these deaths.

I know how lucky I am. And I want to do all I can in my small way to honor the over 560,000 Americans who lost their lives. I will continue to mask up whenever I'm out and about. I will keep my distance as well. And I'll use those active listening skills I picked up in that Parent Effectiveness Program decades ago and try to reason with the anti-vaxxers out there or those who are convinced that the Pandemic is a fake.

Remember that catchy slogan I asked you to recall at the beginning of this post? If I were a betting woman, I'd wager that "Fake News" topped your list.

That was then (well, maybe), and this is now. I'm all in with "Shots in the arm, Money in the pocket."

And I'm all in with celebrating the "new" normal that is beginning to feel close to normal to me.

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Apr 20, 2021

I feel ya sister. Add depressed to that and you've got my days.

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