After the storm that ‘was to be’ never really played out as predicted, here at BallyBin, we are ‘back to routine’ amidst perhaps 4-6″ inches of snowfall that has now been removed to growing areas, a clear driveway and opening highways surrounding us, even though wind in various areas of the plains means adverse visibility and driving conditions to the northeast of us.
The man-child went to work as usual –
Some of the poor, poor children (and their teachers!) in our state and areas affected, did not even get a snow day today.
Since ‘deal with COVID’ impacts last year means, the online systems are in place and some schools chose to say, “Yes, in-person closed, but hey! We’re doing e-Learning instead, so put away the sled, and get online to do your schoolwork”…
A sad, if small, testament to the unintended consequences of ‘rising to meet the current challenges’ that may have forever changed the beloved tradition of my childhood and adult working life – “SnowDay! Yay! A free unexpected mini-vacay day OR one less thing to wrangle today in addition storm survival/recovery”.
I digress from the Decision Report….
This morning I learned from friend (who I called to see if they were dug out yet, since they live north and in higher windswept potential area) and she, all vaccinated up, as she is older than I, inquired when I was scheduled to get my vaccine.
I laughed and said, probably not until next fall sometime…..
But, I hadn’t checked the news OR the state website since last Friday –
The day, when they announced phase 1B.4 of vaccination schedule, to start on March 19th – –
The phase which includes the following bullet point list of eligibility:
- People age 50 and older.
- Frontline essential workers.*
- People with high risk conditions.
- Continuation of operations for state government and continuity of local government.*
Because I’m over 50….
There is already initial urging from friends that I should go.
Now I must decide if I take place in the line, now, or wait.
Let Philosophy 101 Operations Begin!
I have, for myself, tried hard to apply the non-discrimination laws to my own life and decisions.
I’m also rather a fan of ability/meritocracy systems that aren’t silently ‘skewed’ behind the scenes by those who are greedy for their own gains and try to shove gifts and talents into a narrow mold of ‘deemed acceptable’.
Thus, just because I’m a certain race, gender, age, or know how to do some various things, I don’t just assume that me getting some of the vaccination stores available just now is perhaps the best, overall choice for me to make, given supply/demand logistics.
The Ark Test
For the most part, when faced with these kinds of decisions, I prefer the “Ark” test – i.e.:
If reality became akin to the movies Armageddon, Comet or 2012, would I, as I am, right now, be granted a place in the bunker or the ark?
Nope. I wouldn’t. I’m past child bearing age (continuation of species), have raised my children (not primary caregiver for next generation who will continue the species), and given my skills, talents, education level, physical and mental abilities, right now, today?
Nope – I would not be chosen to ensure the continuation of our species, our way of life, or for the preservation of our culture/art, etc.
Therefore, just because the list says so….
…doesn’t mean, I’m going to rush right out to be first in line just because it is, after all,
“MY RIGHT and ‘they’ said I could!”
I can think of so many others, in my age range, some older, some younger, right here in my community, who should get the vaccine before I do, especially, the following:
- Primary earner’s for a household, who work lower wage, but essential jobs.
- Those in my age group who have way more physical issues than I do….
- Those who have vulnerable family members who cannot risk getting COVID, at all.
- Single parent households
- Elderly and child caregivers
- Those who work full time in essential services AND volunteer their time for local government operations
In just the above list? I can, in my small town, think of, (I actually counted them up while thinking of them) 23 in their prime, adults, who should, if they wish to get vaccinated, should be eligible to get the vaccine before I do.
Included outside of the 23 are a couple of women I thought of, who no longer live here.
One is the widow of one of my classmates. Her children are young though they are fast approaching high school graduation.
Another 2 females I thought of right away are divorced because their husbands decided they wanted a ‘new life with their mistress’ and both have primary custody of very young children (ex is off on his new life, no time for the kiddos) AND work 1 or 2 jobs to make ends meet.
That kind of daily schedule for them, right there, makes them tired, stressed and well…immune system compromised…overall, no matter how hard they try to ‘take care of themselves’ when time and money affords them such luxuries.
I know, because I’ve lived it – and well – their teen (for one family) and very young (ages 3-5) children for the other two, shouldn’t be left without their primary parent IF it can be avoided – which, perhaps, it could be, should they be given the vaccine before folks like me.
This doesn’t make me generous or altruistic…
Lest you be led astray into thinking such things.
I do think, overall, such reasoning, in the end, is ultimately about me, and my own selfishness.
I look about me and since I also have the unique set of circumstances that allows me to greatly limit my interactions, going out and about, can work from home and have no small children or elderly in my home to care for, I would rather ‘miss my place’ in line, than LIVE with the regret should one of those ‘next phase’ or ‘should have gotten the shot this phase’ folks missed out and died.
I just don’t want to live with knowing I played a ‘part’ in that possibility unfolding. Not that I would be ‘wholly’ responsible…
But then, think about it –
Toilet Paper shortages didn’t JUST happen on the shelves because one person bought 2+ gigantic packs while they were ‘out and about’ –
It happened because MANY people chose to do so – many of whom, on their own, probably felt they weren’t doing anything to ’cause’ the shortage, themselves….
(It’s my understanding the shortages ALSO happened because so much more of the entire population was using the bathroom at home, instead of work/school/store and while those gigantic rolls of toilet paper sat in warehouses, not needed by public places, few Americans chose to say, “Sure, let’s buy that big roll of toilet paper, it will balance on the tub edge, won’t it? maybe we could move a night stand into the bathroom to hold it….but we can wipe and flush, right?” – Just saying…..)
May sound strange, or dark, to you, but to me?
Assessing the facts of matter given my own knowledge of me and those around me that are observable, and spending even the barest modicum of time thinking about possible scenarios is, to me, a portion of my own operations to meet ‘living with no regrets’.
No matter who says what, some of my regrets in life that I’ve tried hard to either do better or never repeat had nothing to do with Carpe Diem or taking a risk or going big or going home!
They simply had to do with me not thinking about what I would have to ‘live with’ on knowledge of myself, even when everything around me said, “legal, ethical, it’s your right, etc., etc.” and I took actions that at the time seemed to be in line with ‘taking care of me, so I can take care of others’ but in the end?
Were selfish selfish – I did what I wanted because, to be honest, I didn’t even spend anytime thinking about who else would be affected, really, IF many chose to do just as I chose to do….
Not all people on Medicaid, Food Stamps or Public assistance are lazy, drug heads – but all it takes is several of our population saying they are, over and over, and all the sudden, it’s accepted as ‘true’.
Not all homeless people ‘want that lifestyle’ nor did they make poor decisions and yes, perhaps they are homeless on purpose just because, they don’t want to be a burden to those they love… who may not be set up well for them to stay indefinitely at their home.
See? To me, one individual decision may or may not change all of history, but individual decisions have a way of gathering together to create unintended consequences.
There are many, many, essential workers, who are younger than I, that provide more important services than I, who also, given statistics, have many more years of contributing to their communities, the GDP and tax base to provide public services, than I do.
So whether you are ‘equality of life’ for everyone liberal, or a conservative who focuses on the deficit, our economy, etc. – well – yes, I’ve generally, overall, thought of most of this stuff.
And if you’re of the guru-self-improvement happy-wappy set – do not EVER think I do not value myself or actively suicidal.
I have, for some time, here and there, and more as the years have gone by, become more attached via my experiences, observations and learning more, to at least ATTEMPTING to do my best to be a ‘3rd party observer’ of my own choices and passions – which, for me means only one thing to ask of myself evereyday – and be honest as I can hope to be with myself: “What am I producing and what am I consuming? And is my production efforts coming close to my consumption efforts?
“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.”Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles
I must be honest with myself AND you…
Or, just now, as much as I can be, even while I might be lying to myself… and you…
What? Why are you surprised? You know I LOVE brain studies, sociology, psychology and history – human beings are ACES at lying to themselves, over and over! Sheesh! I’m human, thus, I have the potential to be a world class liar at birth – just saying…
Part of my thinking also includes, the fact I have never fared well through winter flu season overall, but often, WORSE! the years I got the flu shot.
While it is true, through a unique set of circumstances, I contracted Swine flu at work, which turned into pneumonia, which turned into pleurisy and waited out the agonizing months while the tendons I had ripped out in my sternum area healed from the rips caused by coughing….the year I didn’t get the flu shot….
That was the worst year and I’m still not certain getting the flu shot that year would have made a difference – because, for me, it’s over and looking back to that year to see if the discussions regarding ‘well, missed the boat on that one didn’t they’ regarding which strain to vaccinate for, that particular year, may have been updated by more data and perusal, since last I tried to assess to see if I was a fool for NOT getting the shot that year….
But, that year, I was considered in my prime, was not working at a place I felt was high risk area for contracting flu, employer didn’t require/provide /demand and que-sera-sera – I made my choice and then lived with it.
The 4 years winter seasons of my life I did get the annual flu shot never really turned out that well either…
From the 1993 initial massively swollen & painful arm that an R.N. girlfriend of a co-worker said, “Um…you should go to ER, that is not a usual reaction to shot…”
To which I replied, “Yeah, I called. They told me to quit whining and it will fix itself in a day or two.” and..then turned back to do my job, even while I glanced at the clock to see how long before I could go home and ice the sucker and drink enough beers I didn’t care how bad it hurt….
All the up way to the other 3 years where the following conversations took place sometime in December – March, after getting vaccinate in October:
“Yes, doctor, I had the flu shot – I got sick last week, felt like a head cold – didn’t catch it in time with self care, fluids and rest, so now I have (bronchitis/pneumonia) and just give me the pills/write the note so my boss knows I went to the doctor, ain’t faking it and tell him and me when I can return to work without infecting others, please….”
The second part of True Confessions portion of honesty….
Is the fact I have, off and on, been a smoker since I was 16.
Although I have quit various times – ranging from 3 months to 6 years, or got myself weaned down to 3-4 cigarettes a day…which is ALMOST quitting without becoming Attila the Hun given nicotine withdraw….
I am, in fact, a smoker – even when I quit.
I’ll always be a smoker, whether I’m smoking right now or not.
I smoked for a time, thus, I’m on the ‘list’ of ‘smokers, it’s required on any insurance, or health care providers intake form and no matter which perusal of societal thinking, service providing, taxation or legislation you look at, they will all at one point or another, inform you through verbiage or higher costs, that I’m a smoker and in the end, I deserve whatever I get/happens to me and I have only myself to blame.
I was very disappointed to learn a much older friend, whom I liked and who had been a mentor to me, who also smoked way more than I did, who also happened to have a good job and good insurance…
….I learned he had put himself on the lung transplant list – at age 60+ ( I never really knew how hold he was – for all I know he could have been 80…)
To my way of thinking? He wrecked his lungs purely due to his own choices (not inherited diseases, like cystic fibrosis, although it could be argued the ‘craving for nicotine’ or ‘susceptibility to lung issues due to smoking’ are, ultimately, a portion of what we are born with…)
I Just couldn’t understand it.
He had lived 60 or so years of life, and lived it hard – – worked 80+ hour weeks, ate whatever he wanted, gained weight and didn’t work out for ‘health’, drank whiskey neat anytime after lunch, smoked like a choo-choo train for most of his life since age 11…etc.
Well, okey-dokey then – didn’t he just shove 120 years of slow lane hits to his body into 60 years of fast lane living and well….
Hadn’t he already won the bet with his doctor that he wouldn’t make it past age 45???! Hadn’t he bragged about that over and over?????
I held him in such high regard in so many other areas of life and work that he navigated with brutal honesty towards others and himself, and while I knew I would miss him, didn’t want him ‘gone’ anytime soon, I confess to silently being really disappointed in him for failing to pay the piper when the bill came due via his own resources.
I RARELY ask WHY on Death
Especially when an adult is older than 60 – or a child born early and given 19 surgeries to ‘live’ in the first few years of life, and not expected to live past age of 10, dies at age 23.
I don’t ask why someone diagnosed with cancer, told ‘we can only manage it’ dies 3 years after the doctor gave the ‘time frame’.
I just don’t. On these fronts?
Any time past the ‘expected’ is, to me…time that was gifted and appreciated.
I do, however, still ask ‘why’ when a child or a nursing mother starves to death – what can be done about that?
When a homeless vet dies of hypothermia or by his own hand, on the streets
When an otherwise healthy teenager choose suicide over living another day –
IF I’m going to ask why, understand, try to change what I can, I focus on the things that I hope a change in the human heart, systems we build and understanding of such things might lead to better outcomes –
I do not question ‘why’ if I should die tomorrow – or tonight –
I’m a smoker, have had a stroke, have been ill enough enough times in my life it was ‘touch and go’ and well?
I’ve been living on ‘extended’ time, from my view, for quite a long time – thus, signing up in some mad rush to preserve my own life awhile longer, well…rather doesn’t seem right or fitting for me –
Thanks for listening while I debate with Myself!
After Writing this all out – I confess….
I’m still Undecided…
I surmise I won’t be trying to line up on first day, this coming Friday (March 19th) and the man-child roommate and I already had the initial discussion, given he is the closest, most affected individual should I contract/die from COVID, for a variety of reasons…
“Mom, do what you want to do/feel is right”
So, for now? Given his tossing the ball back into my court?
I’ll be ‘pondering upon’ this decision for just a tad or more while longer…
Hope this finds you and yours well.