My husband got his first shot through U of Penn Hospital, who reached out to him, since he has been a patient. He’s due to get his second March 11.  Despite our signing me up at half a dozen sites, however, I hadn’t gotten mine yet. Philadelphia is crazy.  The age for access is 65 in Pennsylvania, but 75 in Philadelphia unless you’ve got underlying issues or are minority.  I was falling through the cracks – 72 and white.  But, all of a sudden, our dear neighbor gave us a lead.  It’s a little pharmacy about 15 minutes away from us in North Philadelphia.

So, we called the number. The woman answering said I was eligible.  They had the vaccine, but she had to find a slot, and she’d call back the next day.  No call, of course, but my husband is very persistent. He called again the next day.  No problem, she said.  She’d call us back in an hour.  Well, of course she didn’t. 

But two hours later – all of a sudden – she called back to say I should come in…NOW!  We took off like a shot, left on Moyer till Aramingo where I made my usual illegal hairpin turn against traffic onto Norris, then right on Thompson.  Right on York, left on Aramingo again, because there’s no other way to get to Aramingo ever since they’ve started reconstructing the throughway access.  Did I say Philadelphia is crazy?  It’s a maze of little colonial streets made for horses, but more likely nowadays to carry garbage trucks and semi-trailers.

Thank goodness there was a parking lot!  I donned my (double!) mask and headed in.  Maybe eight people were sitting around, a little closer than six feet apart, but, hey, it was a small place.  The thought crossed my mind of what the chances were of contracting Covid-19 while waiting for the vaccine. Hurry up and wait.  In the end, it wasn’t more than a half hour before my name was called.  I walked into the little staging area, behind a screen, sat down and smiled behind my two masks at the doctor.  “A little pinch,” he said and stuck the needle in, as I looked the other way. (One of my two brothers is also squeamish about such things.  One time he cut himself shaving and passed out on the bathroom floor.) 

“What the?” the doctor said.

“What’s the matter?” I cried.  ”Am I bleeding?”  I turned my head around for the first time.  All the doctor said was, “It’s not going in.  Okay, we’ll try again.  Another pinch.” 

Apparently that didn’t work so well either.   “It’s hitting your shoulder bone,” he said pleasantly.  “Just a minute.  I’m going to have to get another needle.”  He left, coming back a few minutes later with a shorter needle and after “One more pinch,” finished the job.  (Mea culpa.  One less dose for somebody else.)

Funny how Life seems to happen all of a sudden, after a year of going nowhere.  Meanwhile, in the shadow of the pandemic, Life goes on.  Literally.  For example –

The other night around two in the morning, as I’m wont to do, I got up, went downstairs, and wandered into our little conservatory to stare at the moon.  This time, I noticed something move in the corner of our backyard.  It wasn’t a particularly bright night, even though we live in the city across from a large school, whose klieg lights illuminate the entire block.  Still, in the corner of our backyard, it was dark. I figured it was the tall grass waving in the wind, though that seemed unlikely, since just yesterday I had  pruned it down to a bare clump.  But it moved again, and there was no wind, anyway.  I moved closer to the window to see…what looked like a rat face!  Ugh.  Too big for a rat.  An opossum, then. Wait a minute – wasn’t that another face on the other end of the body?  How was that even possible?  And, then, another to the left.  A writhing ball of opossums!

I went for a flashlight and aimed it in their direction.  (It didn’t seem to bother the writhing ball.)  And yes, it was one opossum was on top of another with another now backing away, baring its teeth.  It took me some time to figure out what was going on.  If it were a mother opossum protecting her baby, the baby was just as big as the mother.  Ah, of course.  Two males fighting over a female.  I watched with lascivious interest as the one on top made violent lunges toward the interloper, all the while holding fast to the prize below him.  Hiss and lunge. Hiss and lunge.   I watched until, at last, the interloper slinked (slunk?) off.  Then, I shut off the flashlight to give the couple their privacy and went back to bed.