Liberation Day

The Fabulous Wife and I received our second dose of the Pfizer vaccine yesterday. Our side effects have been mild: the injection site aches and our get-up-and-go seems to have got up and went. The Fabulous Wife may be slightly feverish.

Our understanding is that it takes two weeks to build full immunity. That makes May 7 our personal liberation day from COVID-19.

So now we have a new anxiety, admittedly nowhere near as serious as our previous anxiety about getting or spreading the virus: after 15 months of home confinement, how do we re-integrate into society? I’m a hard-core introvert. The Fabulous Wife is more social, but also more private (she’s not the one writing a blog). Social distancing has not made us stir-crazy.

Nonetheless, we’ve already set post-Liberation Day dates to see The Wonderful Cousins in Marin County and our dear friends R&P in Sonoma County, and doubtless will add other reunions to our social calendar.

But we worry about having anyone over to our place. Since March 2020 our living room has turned into a cat playpen, strewn with boxes, scratching posts, and toys. I’ve been prepping the bathroom for a paint job, so various parts of it have been stripped to the wood and the walls are festooned with sample colors in a pattern resembling bad Mondrian. The Fabulous Wife’s sewing equipment has taken up residence on the kitchen floor. And I’ll have to start making the bed more than once every few days.

Then there’s personal hygiene. Unless I’m Zooming that day or keeping a rare in-person appointment, I shave and trim my beard half as often as I used to, perhaps even less, and I’ve been changing outfits only once every three or four days. Hey, at least I’m staying clean! I still shower daily, and have been washing my hands like never before.

And then there’s the strangeness of taking off our masks indoors around other people for the first time in more than a year. We know that will be safe around small groups of other vaccinated people, but after being so vigilant about donning masks every time we go out the door, we’ll have to fight fear-fueled habit. I’m confident we’ll get there quickly, but during those first few unmasked visits there will likely be a voice in the back of our risk management-conditioned heads crying “no, no, no!!!”

We’re eager to bust out with some travel, but are going to hold off for now. The State Department considers only twenty countries safe to visit, and as more people get vaccinated we expect domestic travel to rise precipitously — which means travel prices will rise too. We can wait until after the initial rush.

This is a good problem to have. We feel very fortunate that we escaped the disease, received an effective immunization, and will be able to resume somewhat normal lives soon. As my grandma used to say by way of blessing, may this be the worst thing that ever happens to us.

Piet Mondrian, Compositie B, 1920.



Former Risk Manager at UC Berkeley, author of four books, ectomorphic introvert.

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Andy Goldblatt

Former Risk Manager at UC Berkeley, author of four books, ectomorphic introvert.