What A Difference A Needle Makes

I just got pricked over at Oakland Coliseum in the most stellar and organized FEMA rollout of the vaccine. Everything was as smooth as the best concert or sporting event you’ve attended where every moment just worked out as it should from the parking lot to the show to your exit home. I went from the middle of SF out to Oakland in 20-minutes (no traffic on this beautiful Sunday afternoon) and had my first fun with finding the best freeway entrance to take me east from the new pad atop a hill. THAT was fun. I’m now a Central Freeway girl which has my car cascading down Portola, through the Castro, inner Mission, and then on to Highway 80. People watching! Something that just doesn’t happen when en route to the highway from the Sunset.

But, I digress. I had a couple of my buds texting me along the way helping me figure out exactly where to get off the freeway and which lane to perfectly set myself up in (both had already been vaccinated there). It was easier than ordering take-out. This entire operation was wonderful and I don’t say such things lightly about going and getting my arm stuck with a needle. As soon as I started making my way around the myriad orange pylons that have been organized to keep everything flowing (SO WELL), I started to tear up. I realized that THIS is what we have all been waiting for! We have ALL been through so much in all of this, and we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Each fatigues-clad FEMA member along the way was helpful and kind and were happy to shout hello back when I waved at them.

I had my ID ready and my scan code appointment from an email they sent. (They send a text message too.) I was swiftly ushered through and suddenly arrived at the tents with the 7 different stations in a row with at least 15 different columns across. So, they were vaccinating a LOT of people in short amount of time. A sweet, young Asian woman approached my window and had everything ready, just verifying my date of birth verbally as she checked my ID. Then, just as quick as a wink, she swabbed my left arm and as I awaited a pinch, she said, “All right then.” I couldn’t believe I didn’t feel a THING.

I told her that I felt nothing and thanked her for being so awesome. She said, “Thank you for saying that. Some people are really freaked out.” I told her that I had never been so excited to receive a shot in my entire life. Since the car in front of me was taking a while, we chatted further. She asked if I’m a teacher and asked where I teach. I told her City College of San Francisco. Then she asked what I teach. When I told her that I’m an audio engineer and I teach various classes in sound including live sound, editing, recording studio, etc. She exclaimed: “My boyfriend is really into that! He’s been recording himself and turned our closet into his personal studio. He put all of this foam on the wall. Is that a good idea?” I told her that leaving some squares of the wall without treatment is best to give it a more natural sound. If you cover all of it, it sounds too dry and a bit dark. She thanked me again and I gave her my card to give to him. Tell him to come to take a class or two with us. I’m sure it will make his recordings sound better to have some help.

The lady in the front was finished and we bid adieu. (I think she was one of the scared ones that come in for their shot.) We had to rest in the parking lot for 10-15-minutes to be sure we weren’t having any reactions. On my fast drive home, several songs came on the radio that made me feel that my deceased mom and brother were with me. First, Dylan’s “Knocking On Heaven’s Door,” which had me tearing as I sang the song aloud with the windows down. I used the various versions of this song for my mom’s video tribute I made for the family back in 2010 and had parts of each version crossfading into the next as pictures of her floated past. The next song that came up was CSN “Teach Your Children.” THAT was a song my brother Bill and I sung a lot when I was a kid. My mom would harmonize sometimes too so that all three of us had our three-part harmony in tune. I started crying a little deeper. I miss them both and felt them holding me on the car ride home.

Vaccinated D (Shot One: Pfizer)

About danaj33

writer * department chair of Broadcast Electronic Media Arts and audio faculty at City College of San Francisco * music composer and producer * always in discovery mode, learning, living, loving, and laughing.
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