A Shot in the Arm or in the Dark?

I’ve a good reason for being a day late this week – – –

I was away from home yesterday and one reason was an appointment two hours away for my first Covid 19 vaccination. It was quick, well organized and painless and I was in and out in less than thirty minutes.

Of course I was curious about something being injected into me, so I did as much research as I could, once I knew that I’d be getting the Moderna one. I started from the position of someone who has had many vaccine inoculations in the past and continues to have regular B12 injections following bowel surgery years ago. Despite the fast tracking of all the current Covid vaccines I didn’t find any good reason to be concerned.

I discovered that the first dose gives up to 80% protection and the second one boosts it to 95%, which is on a par with the very best of previous vaccines for polio, measles and mumps (the ones I’d gotten as a child). I used to have a real fear of needles and there must be many folk who share that dread, but because of my regular B12 injections I’m pretty relaxed about it now, in fact relaxing is the secret to a painless shot.

Of course there are many other reasons why some people are ‘anti-vax’ – some legitimate and others less so. Wendy co-wrote a book that delves into conspiracy theories surrounding this.

 But the more folk get vaccinated then the more everyone else will be safer. I will also continue to wear a mask for the foreseeable future, partly because I could still be a carrier, but also to make a statement of support for the new Federal policy.

Talking of Federal policy – on my way home I listened to the inauguration on the car radio and was very impressed. I’m not a member of any political party, but as an immigrant and a Quaker I’ve probably been as horrified as anyone at the events of the last four years. Of course Trump has said he’ll be back, but there’s another four years and maybe eight to make America significant again. As someone with an academic interest in environmental issues and a personal interest in lowering international tensions and advancing peace, I hope President Biden will move things forward on these fronts – there’s a lot still to be done and more to be repaired. The connection between my themes in this post is obviously that the new administration’s biggest immediate task is to tackle the pandemic.

My feeling is that both my experiences yesterday were a shot in the arm and, even more, not a shot in the dark!

1 Comment

Filed under between books, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

The Monday Book: PROPERTY by Valerie Martin

This book is beautifully written and brutal. Told first person from the point of view of Manon, a wealthy-enough woman married to a man she doesn’t like all that much, it’s set in slavery-era New Orleans.

I am a sucker for character-driven books and this entire plot revolves around the observations of Manon, who cannot see that she treats others as property while being angry at being considered in the same way.

First, there is the guy she wishes she had married, Joel. He needs to marry a rich woman. It’s very clear that they are well suited, but her comfortable existence isn’t enough; he has debts. So she doesn’t have enough property for him.

Her husband is wealthy, but he needs a lot of conjugal satisfaction. So he has her slave, Sarah, quite a bit. Enough to make a boy who is seven years old, and mentally handicapped, who runs through the book (literally) causing havoc.

Then there are the other slaves, and it’s close enough to the coming Civil War that unrest and violence black-on-white is rising. Escaped men and sometimes families live in the woods, and when it’s plausible, they come out to kill white people. Because, slavery. The results of such an encounter are pretty intense for both Manon and Sarah.

Sarah is the near-silent character who slides through the book having the list word by almost never opening her mouth. (Although she does get the last spoken sentence in the novel, and it is brilliant. No spoilers :] )

This book is almost a character study, except the through-line of the violence and the marriage make actual activities move. Otherwise, you just watch Sarah silently win most of the arguments, and Manon never quite figure out what the center of the argument should be. Enthusiastically recommended. But be warned: it is a harsh book in description and attitude.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized