I got a flu shot for the first time this year. It was the day after my son's second surgery. It was an unplanned inspired spur-of-the-moment lapse in my belief that I am invincible. I was in the supermarket, overwhelmed and wondering what to fill my cart with, and there was a banner over the pharmacy shouting out Flu Shots Today! A force propelled me to the counter, to the woman pharmacist who looked on me kindly through her glasses, who gave me the shot and glass of water, who told me to come back and tell her if I had any problems at all, anything...
Sometimes I think I got that flu shot just to feel like someone was doting on me, or like I was doting on myself. Or maybe I got that shot for the same reason I opened this with, admitting that I am not, after all, invincible. When I was a young girl, I had this idea that life would reveal its meaning to me sometime around midlife (so right about now, I would say). Now that I am here, revelations seem absurd. I still like the idea of a pharmacist, a hairdresser, a client, a stranger looking kindly upon me.
I am trying not to listen to the news. Its funny how no one in the small circle of writers I read online regularly have written much about the mass hysteria that is gripping the news. Maybe they are all just trying to live their daily lives frugally and monotonously, as we are. Maybe they are ignoring the doom and dread, because in essence fretting changes nothing. As for me, I am listening to a novel on CD as I ride in my car, fetching teenagers and groceries. It is wonderfully descriptive, and takes a long time to describe the sound of icy tree branches snapping in the winter. I look around me and try to listen to the intense quiet outside of my new home.
I hope the flu shot will work. I hope admitting that I am not invincible will see me flying through winter, my favorite season, skiing because it's free (our passes are ours and paid for) and makes me feel even more free, maybe writing, maybe painting, maybe not taking so many trips to the hospital with my son, maybe taking the time and standing still enough to listen to the snapping branches and muffled sounds of the world around me becoming still and hunkered down for the winter.