I Got My First COVID-19 Vaccine Shot Today

And I feel fine. It was the Pfizer one, so in three weeks, I have to come back and get the second shot. The entire process was quick and easy, and I couldn’t be more proud with Tribal Health and the entire health staff that helped get all this setup. I live on tribal land, so of course the vaccine clinic was setup at one of our local casinos. Funnily enough, this was the first time in my entire time I’ve lived in Montana that I’ve entered this casino, but getting the chance to get a vaccine was one bet I was happy to make.

After I checked in and filled out all my paperwork, one of the nurses led me to the nurse who would be giving me my shot, and to my surprise (and relief), it was my old friend Hope. I hadn’t seen her in years. We used to fight fires together, and she was actually my first squad boss on my first fire. When I knew her, she was an EMT, but now, she’s a few months away from becoming a nurse. It was really good catching up with her, and I was very glad she was the one to give me the shot.

She told me about some of the side effects I most likely will feel tomorrow, but I’m not worried about it because I’m pretty good with pain. Once I got the shot, I was directed toward another nurse, and she gave me a timer with 15 minutes on it. I sat on a chair and waited the 15 minutes, and since I felt fine, once the timer went off, I went home. At the moment, I still feel fine. In fact, I feel ecstatic. I’m so glad I’m getting vaccinated from this godforsaken virus, less than a year since Montana first went on lockdown. Modern science is incredible.

Some Photos of the Mountains

Montana has a way of soothing a turbulent soul with its majesty and beauty, and the detour I took today proved it. I drove down Ninepipe Road—my favorite spot at the moment—and snapped some shots, then I drove home. On the way, I talked to myself about how brief my detour took, and I wondered aloud how I could improve it.

Earlier in the day, as the sun rose behind the mountains, I looked at them and wondered what settings on my camera I would use to best capture the shot I wanted. I don’t normally think like this, about ƒ stops and shutter speeds, but my mind had quieted a bit from the noise of the irrelevant and thought creatively instead.

I’m conducting an experiment, one where I turn off my phone at the start of my workday and only turn it on at the end. I had purchased the cellular version of the newest Apple Watch last fall in preparation for an experiment like this, but I hadn’t got around to it until this week. My watch only notifies me when I get new text messages, phone calls, and email, leaving me alone the rest of the time. So far, I’m loving this.

I’m spending more of my time writing in my notebook and in the novel I’m reading. I’m reading Saul Bellow’s Herzog, and it’s a wildly funny yet somewhat challenging book to read, but without the distractions of my phone—from checking the news or my timeline—I’ve found myself more focused and invested in Saul Bellow’s words. They’re amazing, and I’m enjoying the book more because of it.

I’m always moving quickly, from one task to the next to the next, and I forget how much more fulfilling life can be when I slow down, when I stop and simply look at the mountains. I told myself in the car that I should’ve taken my time taking my photos, that I should’ve explored the reservoir more and simply breathed in its beauty. I say this a lot, but life is short. Why try to live it quickly, flitting here, flitting there, when, again, life can be more fulfilling when we simply take a detour and breathe in the majesty of the mountains.

Ducks, Dicks, and Death

The other night I dreamt of my arrest and subsequent arraignment. The prosecutor filed two charges against me, both of which I don’t remember, but I knew they were serious. Murder serious. Fortunately, I posted bail, left the building, and felt glad I could walk around the world freely. On one of these walks, I stepped on a receipt. When I looked at it, I knew it was the proof I needed to absolve me of at least one of the charges. I showed it to my lawyer and he grew excited. He then warned me that I still had one more charge still hanging over my head. So I walked and walked, looking at the floor, looking at the sky, looking at all the faces passing me by, but I couldn’t find the proof I needed to prove my innocence. Sadly, I never did because I woke up.

It was around 3am, and as I lied in bed thinking through the dream, I reflected on the day and remembered a conversation I had with a friend. She told me about an altercation between another friend and a teacher. We had a new student enter the 9th grade that day, and she and a friend went down the hall looking for an empty locker to claim it as her own. The teacher saw her and thought she was snooping through other kids’ lockers, so she yelled at her and almost made her cry. At the same time, my other friend walked down the hall and saw the teacher yelling at the new student. When she saw the new student on the verge of tears, my friend confronted the teacher and told her that the student was new and that she was simply looking for a free locker like she was told. The teacher, as we found out later, felt so offended that she lodged a complaint to the superintendent. In it, she complained that she felt afraid for her safety. This teacher has a history of over exaggeration, but unfortunately, she is also very effective at getting her way.

My friend and I were both very concerned that our other friend could lose her job. I felt angry that the teacher had a high chance of not only getting her way but also taking the job of someone I cared about. Why do people who do the right thing always get shit on the most? So I told my friend that if the teacher got her way and took my friend’s job, then she would take mine, too.

I’m very tired. I’m tired of people proselytizing their values onto others but doing the opposite, sometimes in the same breath. I’m tired of all the men (and it’s usually always men) in positions of power who don’t fight to do the right thing because it’s too much work, or because it might offend some people, or because it might cost them their job. Why believe in anything if you’re not going to fight for anything?

So I thought about this event in relation to my dream, and I wondered if maybe my subconscious was warning me not to tie my job to the fate of my friends. I thought maybe those were the charges filed against me in my dream, and the receipt represented my job and the income I could lose if I went through with my threat. And the second charge, the one I didn’t have time to find absolution for, was my friend’s fate, the fate that currently lies in limbo. As I lied in bed and realized that this could be the meaning of my dream, I said, Okay, I won’t tie my job to hers. I then went to sleep and woke up a few hours later.

Change has to come from within, and it’s hard when even my subconscious is against me, against who I want to be. But like I always say, if it’s not hard, it’s not worth doing. So here goes.

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