I can’t give you up, till I’ve got more than enough.
So infect me with your love–
Nurse me into sickness. Nurse me back to health.
Endow me with the gifts–of the man made world.

—-The The, Infected

Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie, Texas

A few days ago my health provider sent me an email and told me I was scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination shot. It was about time – I have a couple of risk factors and am classified 1B by the state’s standards and was getting antsy about getting my shots. I filled out the online paperwork and was notified that I would be getting vaccinated at Ellis County’s vaccination hub in Waxahachie at 1 PM on today, a Saturday.

That’s about a fifty mile drive from where I live – clear across the city – but it is doable. I’ve been to Waxahachie a few times – most recently on a photowalk – which was a lot of fun.

I made plans to make a day out of the trip – load my bike in my car and ride a trail there – maybe stop at a coffee shop. But there was an emergency at work and I had to stay pretty much all night Friday (until four in the morning) so I threw all that out the window and tried to catch some sleep.

Saturday I checked the driving time and verified it was fifty minutes so I made some coffee and futzed around. The instructions were a bit odd – instead of saying “Arrive at least fifteen minutes early” – it said, “Do not arrive more than fifteen minutes before your scheduled time.” Then I checked the phone again and a rainstorm had blown in all across the city and the drive time had ballooned to an hour and a half – so I jumped in the car and took off.

I HATE being late for an appointment and as I fought my way through the stopped traffic my arrival time kept getting later – until it hit 1:20. Then my phone told me it had an alternate route, which I accepted, and it got me there only four minutes late.

The Ellis County Hub was impressive. It was meticulously organized in a rural Texas sort of way (if you know what I mean) – they had almost a hundred volunteers in color coded fluorescent vests handling intake (they verified your appointment while you were still in your car, marked your vehicle with a piece of chalk, and handed you a clipboard and a pen for you to fill out the forms [with your input carefully marked with a yellow background] while you parked), parking assistants, a big clump of wheelchairs with attendants for anyone that needed it, intake assistants to verify paperwork, people behind computers entering the data, a group of “ladies in pink” that directed everyone to the rooms where the shots were done (complete with volunteers holding signs indicating which rooms had extra space), the injector people themselves with assistants, and finally a waiting room (in the Senior center’s gymnasium) where we waited for fifteen minutes recovery.

On the way out they scheduled me for my second shot and gave me a card, saying, “Do not lose this card or you will not be able to get your second shot.”

They were moving thousands through the process quickly and accurately. Something impressive to behold.

The only odd thing was that nobody ever asked me for an ID. Although they asked my name and verified my appointment – I could have been anybody – I could have sent someone in my place.

I did make the mistake of wearing a thick, long-sleeve shirt (It was cold and I didn’t want to take a coat – but what the hell was I thinking) and the poor guy had to pull the neck down to get the needle in. So when you get your shot – wear a short-sleeve shirt.

I was oddly excited to get my vaccination. Now I’m looking forward to getting the second and finally, a little bit, putting this awful thing behind me (and us).

Column Capital, Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie, Texas

A Brooding Peace

“In his face there came to be a brooding peace that is seen most often in the faces of the very sorrowful or the very wise. But still he wandered through the streets of the town, always silent and alone.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahatche, Texas

One Hundred Three And One Half

It was in April, but for a second or two as he was coming awake in the strange room and the racket of big and little cousins’ feet down the stairs, he thought of winter, because so often he’d been wakened like this, at this hour of sleep, by Pop, or Hogan, bundled outside still blinking through an overlay of dream into the cold to watch the Northern Lights.

They scared the shit out of him.

—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Downtown Waxahachie, Texas

If You’ll Believe In Me, I’ll Believe In You

“The Unicorn looked dreamily at Alice, and said “Talk, child.”
Alice could not help her lips curling up into a smile as she began: “Do you know, I always thought Unicorns were fabulous monsters, too? I never saw one alive before!”
“Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “If you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Alley, Waxahachie, Texas

Oblique Strategy: Twist the spine

I have been working for more than forty years now. I have some education. I get paid more than many… possibly more than most.

But I still find my self buying crap at thrift stores. Used stuff. Cheap stuff.

When is the best time to go… this time of year? People get new things for Christmas and donate their old crap to the thrift stores to sell. They might even get new gifts they don’t want and donate those.

But there has to be a time lag between decided to donate and when the stuff shows up on the shelves with a price tag. How long? It’s important for me to figure it out. There was a time when I could always buy stuff I wanted in the Thrift Stores because the usual customers were interesting in other things. Now though, since eBay became ascendant, there are people buying stuff in the Thrift Stores, bargain hunting, with the simple intention of reselling it on eBay.

I see these people – they are waiting at the door at opening, buying a seemingly random pile of crap – yet carefully curated to be worth more to someone gazing at it online. They skim off the cream of the crop of the Thrift Store bargains before I can get my greedy mitts on it.

I did stop by the local Thrift Store on my way home from work today. I am very proud of myself. I found two things that I wanted… but didn’t need. I walked out empty handed, which is good. It isn’t a matter of cost… it is a matter of space.

Best Part of a Holiday

“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Zen-like Christmas decorations, Waxahachie, Texas

Oblique Strategy: Do something boring

Went in to work today for the last time this year (not entirely true – thanks to our government and their thoughtful regulations I will have to stop by a couple more times, but that doesn’t really count). It was surprisingly not-unpleasant despite the fact that I finally had to to all of the stuff I had been putting off all year.

Oh, sorry, can’t help myself – I stumbled across one last quote:

“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”
― George Carlin

Man, I miss George Carlin. Actually, now that I think about it – as far as I’m concerned (I never met him and never would anyway) he is as much still here as he always was.

The Thud of a Great Beast Stamping

“The waves broke and spread their waters swiftly over the shore. One after another they massed themselves and fell; the spray tossed itself back with the energy of their fall. The waves were steeped deep-blue save for a pattern of diamond-pointed light on their backs which rippled as the backs of great horses ripple with muscles as they move. The waves fell; withdrew and fell again, like the thud of a great beast stamping.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Children’s Waterpark, Waxahachie, Texas

Oblique Strategy: Would anybody want it?

There’s a button on a stand. The button doesn’t do anything at first – but then the water, a little bit at first, then more and more and more until torrents are spewing from pipes and nozzles. A plastic bucket fills, tilts, and dumps it’s cargo of dihydrogen monoxide out in a foamy amoeba into the hot Texas sun.

Witness the Collision

“But he said, in substance, to himself that if the earth and moon were about to clash, many persons would doubtless plan to get upon the roofs to witness the collision.”
― Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

Confederate Soldier Statue, Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahatchie, Texas

Face and Tower

“This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.”
― Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan

Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie, Texas

Ignorance the Hard Way

“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”
― Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Cat’s Cradle

Waxahachie, Texas