It was around 10.35 AM that we started from our apartment. While we are going for the jab we were hearing this newfound song and suddenly a call came and I was not able to accept the call as I had kept my mobile on the back seat of the car. The phone rang for the entire journey which was 7 minutes from home to hospital and it was time for the next song on my playlist, I noticed that my mother had called, we returned the call and noticed that the call was by accident!
We found it difficult to get parking and understanding that there won’t be towing today we chose to park at a place where we normally wouldn’t park. After all, even the police know that “We are safe when everyone is safe”. We saw a long queue. After gathering more information, I was ready to go back and come later in the afternoon. The vaccine type I had planned to take was not available. Then comes Mr. Walter, who with his nice, intonated voice makes the claim that the Vaxin we have now has only arrived yesterday and the other one will be available in the afternoon. So I still tried to wriggle out of that queue but then something happened. I decided to stay and asked my wife to lead me into the Queue.
As she reached the counter where we had to give all the details the lady who was giving us the token asked my wife for her age. My wife responded back and since she said that cut-off age, Mr. Walter who was not to be seen, suddenly appeared out of nowhere and asked her “have you completed that cutoff then only you are eligible.” My wife’s internal dialogue I am sure was “ They thought I am still not 45!”. That made her day as if a bouquet was presented. Next was my turn. I looked and smiled at her and she said, “ How much to add on to that cut-off?” Talk about pain! Murakami said it best, ” Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional“.
We climbed the five floors to where they were vaccinating and were led to an open space where I saw people had congregated. 80% of the crowd were couples and I am sure each husband had a rocking – climb or a sweaty lift – off in the elevator after having taken the token from that lady. Our token numbers were 57 and 58 and we had a lot of time on our hands. We both got into reading books. I had a hard copy of “War of Art” and my wife had a kindle and she was reading “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.” We exchanged some points from each other’s pages as we had our ears and eyes looking for that call for our token.
From nowhere a person walks and greets us. I recognized that he is our apartment neighbor. I hadn’t seen him in a long time and so I was awaiting some niceties from him. Since he had none I offered mine. On his T-shirt was written 1956. I told him I never knew that I was younger than you as I showed him my T-shirt which had 1973. He was taken aback and quickly moved away from us! My idea of wearing the T-shirt was to openly declare that I am 45 plus. For the first time, we displayed the age with courage. Later as my wife was reading the book she showed me those lines which encouraged my beliefs about age. Murakami said, ” It doesn’t matter how old I get, but as long as I continue to live I’ll always discover something new about myself.”
A person had borrowed a pen from us and we thought she was leaving with it but she sanitized it and gave it back and that was a very nice gesture. On the other hand, there were some odd people who felt irritable as they found the long queues quite alarming and were looking for someone to share their frustration with. As the day progressed and they were left alone, they maintained studied silence.
By now we had completed close to 90 minutes and the call came for us to stand in the queue to feed personal data and make payments. Interestingly that took time and I heard some grumblings from people behind on the system and its efficiency. Typical corporate lingos were flowing all around the place. I glossed over those comments and congratulated the staff for the efforts and was feeling good about the service. At the appointed hour I was seated on a black single sofa and I saw that Red box from where they took out the vaccine. The nurse asked me are you ready and she told me to take a deep breath. I was keen to see when that contact happens of that needle with my body. She immediately asked me, ‘ Why are you looking this side?”, Look at that side and take a deep breath again and she asked me “Is it paining?” the answer was no, not anymore I said, “ You can take the injection now.” She laughed and I realized that I had been jabbed. I was surprised that in those matter of seconds it was done. Before I was about to leave she said, “ No alcohol for 48 hrs twice”. Why me only?!
Anyway, it had been an uphill day with all sorts of encomiums. We then waited for 30 minutes and we decided to take the elevator. As we were going down each floor I saw a quote and asked my wife what will she speak on this topic? “Injury is your best teacher.”
I was in the pharmacy and had decided well before to get B Protein and some routine OTC (Over counter) medicines. In comes a set of couples who orders two strips, 3 strips of Dolo. I asked my wife, “Do we have Dolo at home?” Instant repartee from my wife, “ We have for this dose as well as the next one”.
For those under 45 years, I am keen to know your story until then, ” Be at your best Job every day till you are waiting for your Jab“. For those above 45 and who are not ready to disclose their age, it is time to figure out how to deal with it literally and metaphorically. As we were leaving the hospital, my wife pointed to another neighbor who was standing in the queue. She said, “I did not know that person was above 45”. I told her to maintain silence as we got into the car, ready to hear the next song on our playlist.