By Sue Murphy
I don’t know about you, but I could really use a hug.
I came to hugging late in life. I hail from staunch New England parentage where the prevailing atmosphere was “keep your distance” with a hefty side of “it’s none of your business.” But I’ve lived in Alabama for 40 some odd years now, and hugging has become an integral part of my social norms.
Of course, when social suddenly became distant, hugging became a no-no. Sure, it was a shock to my system, but I could have handled the restriction except that when hugging was sidelined, unreasonable unpleasantness rose up to rule the day and being reasonable at all went right out the window. Is there a connection? You tell me.
In the past year, (can it be only one?) we’ve had an election and a post-election and riots and a pandemic and people who invoked the name of Jesus after storming the Capitol building openly hunting members of Congress, and I find myself at a loss as to what to do about it all. Being a person on the big-dog sidelines, my powers are few. I send up my own prayers without the accompanying murderous intentions, I wear a mask, I wash my hands. In short, I’m doing all I know how to do, but right now, my anxiety level is somewhere around “Thar she blows!”
It doesn’t help that, COVID-wise, I have been labeled, simultaneously, high risk (yikes) and nonessential (ouch), and the miracle vaccine to fix all that is still out of my reach. I am happy to wait my turn like the nonessential person that I am, but the powers-that-be keep throwing out the words “first come, first served,” which strike terror in my heart.
I’m not particularly good at competing for things. I didn’t score extra toilet paper until the shelves were once again fully stocked. I still don’t have Lysol spray. If my survival depends on my ability to hit redial and refresh for 13 hours straight, I am doomed.
I wholeheartedly agree with the vaccine priority rankings. The vulnerable should go first. Health care workers and first responders and mail carriers – everybody on the front lines should be immunized immediately. But here’s a thought: when you get to the rest of us, how about making access easily accessible? Contact each person in alphabetical order. Make appointments according to birth date. Something. I’d be in the second half in both groups, but at least I’d have a date and a time that I didn’t have to fight for.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Or hey, by the time you read this, the health department may have figured things out. If they’re still in a quandary as to how to get the shots into all of our arms, here are a few more ideas I’ve come across: One outside-the-box person suggested they give the shots to Amazon drivers. We’re all getting packages, so the drivers are coming to our houses, anyway. I say the Disney folks should be pressed into service because they manage crowds on a regular basis, or even better, put the vaccines in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru line. The line might stretch all the way down Highway 280, but you’d still come out in record time and have a chicken sandwich to boot.
Once again, no one consulted me on the matter, which is unfortunate. This Valentine’s Day, my heart will be beating double time, and I’m not sure an entire box of Godiva will set me straight.
Boy, I could use a hug.