At one point, I felt compelled to take my wife's phone from her. She was driving. Not fast, but she was driving. She was driving through the Habitrail maze of road cones in the parking lot of the Alameda County Coliseum. The Oakland A's were playing baseball inside the stadium, but that's not why we were there. The path we were on took us through what would have been prime spots for parking if we had been there to catch a game, or a concert. What made this trip to our local sports complex so worthy of documentation was not a spectator activity. This was an interactive event.
We were there to get my wife vaccinated. The Federal Emergency Management Agency had taken over the area where fans have been tailgating ahead of Raiders and Athletics games for decades and turned it into a vaccination destination. My wife had become eligible for her citizen over a certain age shot just a couple days before, and after getting a hot tip from a friend of hers, she was able to score an appointment. Actually, she bagged three, in various locations and at different times. Cleverly, she chose the most expeditious opportunity. It was also a place that was serving up the one-shot Johnsons and Johnson mix that meant she would be one and done. No return trips. No worries about scheduling that second appointment thirty days later.
I tried not to be jealous. I had been fully vaccinated for more than two weeks at that point, and probably should have simply been happy for my patient wife. She was being rewarded for that patience with an experience that, from door to done, lasted just under an hour. My experience had been quite different. After weeks of trying to catch an appointment from the online system, I chose to walk over to the nearby high school from my own school. Where I stood for three hours in the will-call line, hoping that the extra doses didn't run out before I was ushered inside.
This was not the experience my wife had. When I was waiting in my line, I had a chance to get familiar with those in front and behind me. I made more than a couple witty remarks about standing in line for Space Mountain, appreciating the potential that all of this standing around might eventually allow me to get in a great many other lines. Not just Space Mountain, but the line to buy tickets at a movie theater, or to get a seat inside the Alameda County Coliseum to watch some baseball.
When my wife pulled our car around the last cone-described curve and we were ushered into a line where she would shortly be given that same chance to become invulnerable, I offered to hold her phone while she documented the process. When it came time to get her shot, she rolled up her sleeve to show the tech the smiling sun she had drawn on her shoulder to mark the target. It was a nice moment.
And just like that, it was over. We pulled forward and waited the required fifteen minutes without ever having to leave the comfort of our car. I watched and listened to the wave of relief wash over her. As we drove out of the parking lot, we were leaving her fear of COVID behind. She had survived and come out the other side. We drove over to Home Depot and brought plants for our garden. It was time for renewal.