I rarely trust new technologies. New means unwanted complexity. It hits me like an allergy that triggers anxiety instead of rhinitis.
I’m a few hours away from getting my second corona poke. Pfizer. I’m not antivax, but still I was hoping this country would have gotten Sputnik. The old fashioned, normal dead virus aspect of it had me waiting. This country started vaccinations with Sinovac’s coronavac which would have been my second choice. Chinese tech has gotten amazing and it was the next closest thing to an old fashioned dead virus.
But by the time I gave up on waiting for Sputnik to get approved and offered in Uruguay, the country shifted to hitting everyone up with Pfizer. The date of my first poke I tried begging, pleading, and negotiating for Sinovac, but after everyone at the vaccination camp established that the remaining Sinovac doses were reserved for second doses and no one was starting I surrendered to Pfizer.
Like General Ripper from Dr. Strangelove, I value the purity of my essence if not the purity of my deeds. The idea of accepting an invasion of foreign mRNA to turn my own cells into a factory for some other organism’s proteins disgusts me. Sure, that happens anytime I get hit with an upper respiratory virus anyways, but knowing that happens makes me sicker than any actual cold or flu symptoms. Fine, maybe not the flu. The flu makes me feel like getting hit by a truck.
I always get flu shots. Flu shots are simple. I get poked. I go home. I nap off and on until the next morning and ride out a series of fever dreams. Then my alarm goes off. I dose aspirin and my flu fears fly away for the year.
My first Pfizer dose didn’t go like that. Going into the Vacunatorium my axienty levels were above move to a new country yet still below enter a musty shed full of rotting cardboard boxes (the perfect habitat for the venemous brown recluse!).
I plead for any vaccine but an mRNA one. I resigned myself to the vaccine, but crossed out the waiver of liability on the form I signed. I had to sign another form without crossing that line off the form. I got poked. I sat in the chair waiting most of the required time. My chest hurt. My head hurt. Was this the vaccine or a panic attack? Side effects or psychogenic? How crazy am I? Why didn’t I just walk way feeling like a boss while being viewed as a Karen with the purity of my essence in tact?
I called for help! The kind nurses got the doctor and walked me back to the waiting ambulance. My vital signs were normal enough. Blood pressure high, but not problematic. Then in the most Uruguay move ever, the doctor let me know they didn’t have any mundane NSAID pain relievers but they had injectable narcotics if I needed something for the pain.
In the end I declined free morphine. I said no to one shot. The next four days I felt like shit. Aside from the muscle pain and spasms in my upper right arm, I had no good filter for what was psychogenic and what was my now impure body producing invader proteins and triggering my loyal immune system to defend me from my new self.
The first appointment I had for a second dose was missed. Something came up. I swear it was important. My step-conservator accepted my reasoning that the other engagement was far more urgent than the second poke.
Having let the fear out of my fingers, I think I’m ready to surrender the purity of my essence again. In my 20s I didn’t spin anywhere this much. The self destructive streak which helped me rationalize that first Pfizer dose is far weaker after a couple interviews for promising gigs last week, but my anxieties spin up I can still probably count on the insane “Maybe this poke gives me an easy exit” point to follow through with the dosing.
Really in sane times wanting to travel easily and end the indoor masking is a far greater motivation, but… anxiety’s like anger. When it grips me I am a far dumber person. I routinely regret things I do angry or anxious. My calm self has to pay the price.
I hate the tension and politics invading the drama of my interior dialogue. When talk about corona vaccines first popped up last year, I was ready to be one of the first in line to get Sputnik V. I imagined all the excitement and anticipation playoff baseball or concert tickets! Maybe a midnight game release or opening night of a long anticipated film. Instead what got here first was my second choice, and I waited until all that was left was one of my last choices on the “anything but this” list.
Maybe I am insane. Somehow despite crushing every standardized test I ever took, despite my love of data driven decisions making, it feels like society consistently seeks to actively invalidate my comfortably rational processes and myself. When I moved from Illinois to Uruguay, I escaped so much of that. I was living my best, smartest life.
Then COVID hit and while Uruguay escaped the insanity of COVID’s first year it had to embrace Pfizer’s popularity. Yes, they released Viagra. What does finding a molecule that fits in a receptor that leads to easier erections have to do with programming human cells to produce viral proteins! The context of Pfizer’s previous hits doesn’t paint them as experts in this domain. It clearly illuminates that Pfizer is a bold risk taker chasing blockbuster hits! A wanna be Micheal Bay playing for healthcare money!
Hard libertarian “privatize everything” gurus disgust me as much as hard “lets all just get along in squalor” socialists. In the English speaking world democracy seems to have played out in a way that embraces the absolute worst of both extremes. Nothing smart can survive in Anglophone lands because political will is driven by passing whims that become the established way things are. The slow burn of the incredible wealth accumulated by the post-WWII US’s couple decades of near monopoly of sophisticated industry manifest in Baby Boomer prosperity is exhausting.
The future is living with less. Not in Asia, after the 90’s plot twist of Anglophones surrendering the remainder of their industrial prowess for marginally reduced production costs. We all know how that played out. The initally small transfer allowed increasingly sophisticated industries to centralize in Asia and… did any Anglophone decision maker try correcting course? Some might point to the clown Trump, but did anyone try correcting course before the game was lost?
I find myself re-reading a paper I wrote in 2007 for some undergrad 300 level economics class. It was the spring term shortly before the protagonists of the Big Short would be validated in the true story behind the book and the movie. I’m rather proud of how I’d projected the commercial relationship between the US and China playing out, but I am underwhelmed with how I applied that projection to my own life in the interim. Yes, I moved to the city least likely to suffer cataclysm should the Northern Hemisphere become engulfed in a nuclear holocaust. No, I didn’t manage to completely insulate my personal finances from the consequences of that worst case scenario despite giving it roughly coin flip odds over the next decade.
Shit, poke time approaches. It’s time to shower, wake up my Step Conservator and get ready to surrender my purity of essence one again surrounded by people who just can’t understand why I would rather have taken the Chinese vaccine if it was still available. Yet, I did have the opportunity and fucked it by waiting too long. Sometimes I really do hate other people. The bigger the group and the stronger their consensus, the more I hate them.