It’s that time of year in Tucson when the temperature precipitously rises one day and then just never goes back down. This week, highs in the nineties. Next week, we’ll all be on fire I guess. At the moment the heat is still stretched out across the day: cool mornings, afternoon wind, sun at just such an angle that you can have the windows open until two or three, and a fan can still stand in for the air conditioner, though that will probably end in a couple of weeks. The fact is, it’s nice out right now, but my brain cannot accept it.
Speaking of brains, I assume we’re all psychologically fragmented now, it cannot be me, only. I have a number of projects going, all about one paragraph from completion, but since they’re all impossible paragraphs, I am in a Zeno’s Paradox of productivity. No matter how many times you finish half of what you have to do, there’s always another half, and then another.
On the extremely plus side, Dave and I both got our first vaccine shots last week (Pfizer, baby!), and now I can’t stop talking about it, despite having little to say besides, “I got my first vaccine shot!” I want to unpack this situation like a fan board unpacking a Marvel movie. How do I feel? How will I feel? How have I felt? I assume this is connected to my brain frag, the fact that I cannot seem to sit down and release an idea all in one go.
(Predictably, my worst side effect for the first shot was a mild allergic reaction to the band-aid they put on me. It looked like I had been branded with a band-aid shaped brand. My arm also got a bit sore. It’s all fine now.)
My appointment was in the evening, and walking past the white tents and floodlights, the long line of cars and the masked attendants, did have something of a disaster movie feel, which I kept wanting to discuss with the strangers all around me, though I refrained. Although I had no big wave of emotion following the shot itself, I felt weepy seeing the full administrative weight of the endeavor, all the checks and balances and the long paperwork trail that went into moving us all through the line towards the league of friendly nurses. Seeing people collaborate so diligently to keep us alive; that is a moving thought, at least as much as the notion of someday sitting in a coffee shop again someday.
Since my appointment was so late, I had all day to look nervously forward to it, worrying that I had misread the time, worrying that I would have an anaphylactic response, ritualistically cleaning the house and taking a bath and cutting my hair. (I mean, I needed a trim, it’s not as pathological as I’m making it sound.) I’m aware that I’m writing backwards now, away from the appointment, back into the fear. I wonder what it is that I’ve left back there, in my mind’s lock box of anxieties and unprocessed notions. I keep fast-forwarding and rewinding through this day, as if to finally achieve catharsis, but that will probably take more time. I do have little bright thoughts throughout the day, like, “Maybe in a few months I can go to a movie. I can browse in a bookstore, or the library. I could stay in a hotel.” At the moment, nothing has changed about my day to day life, but I am beginning to wake up to the idea that it might.
In the meantime, it will get hotter. But that also means that the mesquites are finally greening, and my sunflowers will shoot upwards, as will the poppies biding their time in my garden. The saguaros will gain crowns of white flowers, and I will pull out the small soaking tub, and listen to the doves. The doves are a summer sound, with their calm cooing, their small bodies unruffled in the eucalyptus. At some point in that hot hot heat, I will stop rewinding and fast forwarding and just move on, and though it’s hard to imagine now, I probably won’t, in the moment, even notice.