Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Fire Drill

I pull into the three-quarters full parking lot and find a space on the far side, so that people with trouble walking can get the nearer spaces. (One of those things you can allow yourself to do when you're semi-retired and not in a hurry any more.) A beautiful morning. Some deep breaths. Do the little juggling routine: key into my pocket, glasses off, tie on mask; glasses back on, get out of the car, fish the key back out of my pocket, lock the car. 

I stride toward the building, feeling bold and enterprising. But I slow as I approach. A wave of some dozen masked people comes out. A second, and a third wave. Each wave wanders deeper into the parking lot, and then stops. What the hell?

Oh. I've seen this behavior before. It's a fire drill. More waves come out; they gather in little clusters, chatting: some cheerful, some resigned. Who knew how many people were in a nondescript, three-story medical building? There must be a hundred of them.

I stop well away from them: they're all masked and probably all vaccinated, but a crowd is a crowd and it's going to be a while before I'm comfortable in one. (As if I ever was.) Besides, nothing's happening till the floor captains have counted noses and the drill is over. So I go for a little walk in the parking lot. It's  godforsaken stretch of ground between the light rail tracks and a shopping center. But it's a bright and blessed June morning nevertheless.

Every one files back in, and after a few minutes, to give them time to become a functioning medical organism again, I follow them, and after a reasonably short time (but long enough to have been asked my name and birth date three times) I'm back on the sidewalk, plus a wad of gauze taped to the inside of my elbow, and minus a vial of blood. My lipid panel! It's been three months since the last one: I'm ten pounds lighter and two inches narrower, and now I get to see if I've moved my numbers.

This is wildly, wildly outside my comfort zone. I actually made this test happen. I initiated an interaction with my health providers. I have never done such a thing before.

It's boy thing, I guess. You always hear of women needing to drag their husbands to the doctor. I've never exactly needed to be dragged, but I've tended to go limp -- like a peaceful anti-nuke protester -- and I certainly never started anything.

But now I have, and I'm feeling absurdly cocky and sure of myself. A bit pathetic, but -- hey, it's part of the project of inhabiting my own life, and it's gone well so far, and I'm taking it as a win.

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