Considering how frightful the past four years have been and in particular, the soon-to-pass-year 2020, you’d think we’d have given up being afraid by now. Instead, many of us have grown more fearful, as if the terrors we have bypassed can’t match the looming despair of the year and years to come. I think the constant vigilance and being locked in our homes for close to a year already have made even the most outgoing among us wary and weary of what awaits us on the other side of the calendar. There has been no “easy time” since last spring. We have been warned — repeatedly and nonstop — about the upcoming dangers “out there.” Disease and death await us if we drop our guards for even a moment. A hug, a handshake, a relaxed few moments of conversation all feel as threatening as a battle against an enemy made of shadows.
For some of us — me, for example — this is a whole new world. I’ve rarely been afraid of anything. But this time, I feel like every day for the past nine months, every news report has started with an alarm, a warning of the perils that await me “on the other side.” What other side? The other side of my doorway. The “outside.” It has been beaten into my brain that the simple act of leaving my home and interacting with other people is likely to mean death. My future was stolen.
I don’t know what the actions of our government mean anymore. Are these protections against a killing virus or are they a warning about a virus combined with a subtle hint that from this point on, we’ll be controlled by potential terrors and endless warnings on every news report? Although I have no intention of going “out there” mask-free and crazy — as if that sort of behavior will convince the virus to skedaddle so we can get on with life, the very unsubtle and pounding warnings on the news have taken my usual fearlessness and turned me into putty. Which is embarrassing and just plain wrong. That’s not a way to live.
The relentless and incoherence of the warnings by our national and more accurately, local governments have been fierce. Somewhere in the mish-mash of warning we’ve also been told we can go outside and “get some fresh air” while simultaneously being warned that fresh air may (or may not) contain lethal droplets of poison. Maybe not poison for everyone but poison to me and those like me.
I am afraid of being afraid. Fear itself IS the fear. At this point, with at least two vaccines developed and supposedly being offered to us, I have yet to see anyone actually get the vaccine. In a state renowned for its high level of concern for medical care, Massachusetts has been slow as molasses in getting the vaccine distributed. Moreover, instead of gauging whether or not someone’s health is fragile, they have set it up so it vaccination is based entirely on age alone. Garry will get inoculated months before it becomes available to me or Owen, even though Owen works out there, in the big dangerous world and I have a massive heart issues As of this date, even this state’s medical workers have not gotten vaccinated. Biden said yesterday that at the rate we are distributing vaccinations, it could be YEARS before most of us get vaccinated. THAT is something of which to be afraid. I cannot fathom years of being locked in this house. I love my home, but it has become as much a prison as a home. A comfortable prison from which I see no escape.
I want to my world back. I want to be free to come and go without fear and trembling. I don’t think I have that many more years to live and it would be nice to be able to live those years
It would be easy enough to write this post in a neutral, dry kind of dissertation, but I don’t feel like being neutral or fair. I want what I want. I want the vaccine — in ME. I want to be free to regain a piece of my world. I want my LIFE back. MY life back.
I found it interesting on the news tonight that head of Boston’s fire department is getting downright angry. WHERE ARE THE VACCINES? Why didn’t the state arrange vaccine distributions as soon as it was known vaccines were on the way? We knew a couple of months ago and in the meantime, they did nothing. honestly, NOTHING. This is not reassuring.