I watch my social media feeds with a mixture of joy and jealousy as the people I know share their news of getting vaccinated. It’s not actually real jealousy as much as that feeling of, “Well, you lucky bastard, I am genuinely happy for you.” I’m not sure if we have a name for that feeling in English, but I’m sure some other language has perfectly summed it up somewhere.
As a healthy 40-year-old person who works from home, I’m at the bottom of the vaccination list.
People have told me about ways to jump the line and get an early shot, but I’m not interested in that. There are plenty of people who need the shot far more than me and I couldn’t, in good conscience, cut in front of them. If the president is correct, we should all be vaccinated by summertime, and I don’t mind waiting. What’s a couple extra months? Plus, I put my name on a couple of lists, so they’ll call me if there are extra shots that would be thrown out otherwise. Who knows, maybe the agnostic version of providence will throw me prick in the arm.
What truly brings me happiness though is that my parents are now fully vaccinated and are in town this week. Not only do I get to spend time with them, I get to give them actual hugs! I’m pretty close to my family so I’m obviously elated.
And this is all a fine excuse to visit parts of The City I haven’t been to in months and eat at places I’ve missed. We’re hitting up R&G Lounge in Chinatown, Sotto Mare in North Beach, and the Wooden Nickel in the Mission.
All these vaccine vibes have allowed me start cautiously dreaming about the near future. Like, once everyone is vaccinated, Kayla and I can finally have our wedding party at El Rio. I’m almost effervescent at the thought of being surrounded by all the people we love at one time after not seeing any of them for over a year. Think about that for one second. Think about the feeling of hugging all of your favorite people in the world, in a single day, after not being able to be in proximity to any of them for so long. Even just imagining it right now is overwhelming…in a good way. (Is there a word in some language for that?)
Festivals and live music are likely a thing of the very near future as well. Another Planet has announced they aim to throw Outside Lands on Halloween weekend this year, and while SF Pride isn’t doing a parade this year, they are doing a month-long series of in person events.
Then there’s travel. Oh, how I’ve been fantasizing about leaving on a jet plane. I’ve spent most of my adult life as a travel writer and make a point of leaving the country at least once a year. I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve even left San Francisco since the start of the pandemic, so the thought of being able to safely travel is absolutely lurid. I’d want to make sure I’m not taking resources away from any of the people who live there, but I’m currently dreaming of Mexico or Montreal, Tokyo or Tunisia, New Orleans or New York.
It’s almost like senioritis. Remember how it felt that last semester of high school, like how you seemed so close to the beginning of the next big stage of your life? That’s how it feels right now. The wonderful future is just around the corner, and we just have to be patient and not mess things up.
Which is exactly the problem. As we’ve seen in recent weeks in places like Texas and Florida, the announcement that we could all be vaccinated soon has caused far too many people to start acting like we already are. And after a couple months of plummeting cases, COVID is on the rise again in dozens of states and across Europe. Germany even just extended their lockdown.
So please don’t mess this up people. Please be patient. Please keep wearing your masks and washing your hands and being conscientious of other people. We’ve endured so much to make it here and the end is finally in sight. Instead, start making plans for what you will do after the pandemic, even if it is just a fantasy right now. I’m gonna get married and see all my friends and travel for a little bit. What are you gonna do when this is all over?
Stuart Schuffman is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com and join his mailing list at http://bit.ly/BrokeAssList. His column appears every other week. He is a guest columnist and his point of view is not necessarily that of The Examiner.