Vexations and Conundrums

By Katina Pontikes

Vaccination Unknown

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I haven’t had this much desire to party since my college days.  I eagerly plan something colorful and exciting to wear to dinner.  No more yoga pants and tank tops from dusk until dawn, no more days running through the house in pajamas. I am replacing my makeup, as it is well over a year old, dry and decaying.  I opt for glimmering, glowing shades that will put life back into my pale visage.

I plan which friends to have over, small groups of vaccinated individuals.   They throw their masks off exuberantly as they cross the threshold of our condo unit, celebrating this newfound freedom. The scene is so dramatic, it would make a great opening to a play.

The setting is contemplated no less. I have candles burning everywhere. Fresh flowers dance in vases. I burn essential oils so that the environment is spa-like, creating an ambiance something like an exotic Indian palace.

I had about three such events before we hit a social challenge. A friend extended a reciprocal invitation to us for a dinner party. I responded that the idea was great. I was up for more conversation, laughter, and maybe music. Then my husband reminded me once again that vaccination status of attendees is unknown. We must know the people well, so that we know if they are vaccinated. I agonize over whether we can accept or not. My husband is just as happy to stay home and watch another murder mystery on television.

Has anyone else noticed there seems to be a proliferation of movies about killers and whodunnits since the pandemic started. Old serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Son of Sam are having their cases re-examined in new movies.  Could we be preoccupied with our mortality and the seeming randomness of death? I can only watch so much about killing, then I long for the romance of getting out. 

Today I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker magazine. Two girls had created algebraic equations to determine whether it was safe to go out with a mix of vaccinated, unvaccinated and vaccine status unknown people or whether they should just stay home and read.  I related.

There is a great deal of controversy over what is referred to as “vaccine passports.” These clear up the questions and uncertainty of people’s vaccine status. They are viewed by some as an invasion of privacy. Some countries are going to require them to cross their borders. Travel is a great vaccine motivator for those undecided persons.

There is a third group worth mentioning:  Those persons who had Covid and survived. They have antibodies.  One recent study claimed the antibodies may last a year.  If these people get even one shot, they will become highly immune and won’t have to take annual booster shots like regularly vaccinated people. Even that hasn’t persuaded some of these people to run for the needle. However, these people can make the dinner invitation list, temporarily.

Soon I am hoping this entire issue disappears. We will all be able to gather without concern. This period of worry and paranoia will resemble an Alfred Hitchcock episode. We will look back on it as a surreal memory, relieved that it has ended.


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