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Just Another Book On The Shelf

Being Covid-classified as ‘elderly’ I recently received Covid jabs One and Two.

There seems to be a lot of angst among my fellow humans on whether or not to get inoculated. For me, it wasn’t an issue. My life has been dotted with inoculations, starting when I entered school with the required polio, diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, (DTP) and smallpox. When I moved overseas, I was given a yellow inoculation card and received another DTP, as well as Hep A and B.

As my travels expanded I occasionally popped into the clinic to get typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, .yellow fever and other safeguards. I was always grateful. Without those jabs, I could not explore the world, and I was very happy to have them.

Covid One was fairly uneventful. A sore arm, (the shot seemed to take forever), and just a bit of achy-pain later. It did not prevent me from my afternoon walk, or any scheduled meals.

I was on edge until receiving an appointment for the second jab. Everyone told me I would be contacted, but it had been so haphazard at the beginning and there were daily stories of vaccines being delayed, lost, or ruined. Then the weather forecast for the week was heavy rain. But I didn’t care if I had to dodge torrential flooding, I was going to get that shot.

Well, the weather changed as it sometimes does, and I pedaled down the streets to the Community Centre in blazing sunshine. I was ecstatic. I received my shot, posed with the cut-out of Dr. Fauci, and pedaled back home, a song in my heart.

That song turned into a dirge about six hours later, and the severe aches and pains sent me to my bed. I crawled under layers of blankets and don’t remember anything at all till I woke twenty-four hours later, with the world spinning around me. The achy pains were mostly gone, but the lack of food and water had left me very dehydrated. Clutching my spinning head I made my way to the kitchen and began the process of drinking copious amounts of water and eating food. The spinning gradually stopped and as life returned to normal, I contemplated my new circumstances.

No more anxiety-riddled days dodging the maskless, running away from the ignorers of safe distancing, washing everything down with an obsession akin to Jack Nicholson’s character, Melvin Udall.

Of course, I would still follow Dear Dr. Fauci’s guidelines, but still.


Gone were the 6:00 am frantic darts to the grocery, shopping list clutched in trembling fingers, grabbing items, and running through the checkout line. Now I could sleep in, leisurely make my way to the store, and browse up and down the aisles for different ingredients.

I could walk down our main street looking into shop windows, hardly disturbed by the many maskless passing within a few feet of me. I’d thought it would take weeks/months for the people-paranoia to fade, but it disappeared within a few days. Everything became a pleasure. I’d moved to this town after thirty years abroad and barely gotten settled in when Covid struck, so it was like being a tourist. I checked out all the new places, looking at everything. I bought my first take-away food in over a year (pizza). It was terrible.

But the number one location on my list was the town library and I paid a visit as soon as the second-jab-two-week-mark was up. The timing was perfect as they had recently opened their doors.

It threatened to be a disaster. I LOVE to read magazines and had checked out armloads of them the first several weeks after moving here. I’d brought my large canvas bag in anticipation, and after having my temperature read by a very strange screen that outlined my silhouette, I made a beeline to the magazine section where they were kept in long racks.

The long racks were there, but they were empty. Stark and barren with a little sign attached saying there would be no more magazines as they were too hard to disinfect. I was aghast.

No more blissful hours spent reading in their opulently overstuffed chairs perusing beautifully photographed house designs, Hollywood titbits, or the next travel destination.

No more glossy covers of Kate and William.

No more newspapers.

I could have wept.

To me, having suffered like the rest of us, both large and petty deprivations

(WHOA, my computer wanted to say ‘depravations’)

the past year, this just seemed the final blow. I trudged down the aisles of books, empty bag dangling from my shoulder. Didn’t books have to be disinfected too? Why the ban on magazines?

I passed the long rows of the ‘Newly Purchased Books’ shelves. There were so many. Despite Covid, the library had been busy stocking up on reading material for us. I do love our library; it isn’t their fault that had to do away with the magazines.

Anyway, I was browsing away when I saw this on the shelf above Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, and Sophie Kinsella:

And reader, I forgave them their magazines transgression.

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