Of all the fake names ever used in spam comments on this site, “Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine” is perhaps the most amusing and the most timely. I’ve been thinking a lot about the vaccine lately; about its availability, about when I’ll be able to get it, and about just how successful it’s going to be in the grand scheme of things.
In some abstract way, as we approach a full year in lockdown — although, it strikes me, few have fully observed the lockdown for that entire time; the seemingly increasing number of people wandering the streets without masks makes that all too clear, sadly — the idea that the vaccines will work, and that we may one day return to something close to what we used to call “normal,” feels almost impossible.
This, by now, is normal. This weird world where we don’t really go out and do things, is the world as it is and has been for the length of our short-term memory; even moreso, the idea of doing something else, whether it’s going to the movies, or going to a restaurant, or anything that used to be considered an usual social occurrence, feels not only alien, but more than a little unsettling to boot. Imagine being that close to strangers without wearing a mask at all times!
(Or two masks, even; I’ve taken to wearing two masks out in public after reading advice that it would be advisable considering the new COVID variants, and even that has become less strange and uncomfortable incredibly quickly — it was only a couple of weeks ago when I felt as if it was too much, and that I was breathing oddly, but now I do it without even thinking and feel entirely normal when I do.)
Perhaps this is just what happens, perhaps it’s just how our brains work. All I know is that, this far into COVID lockdown, the very notion that there’s an “other side” to the virus and to lockdown that we’re headed towards feels as if it’s science fiction.