There ought to be a term for it. For lack of an alternative, I’m going with ‘Pfizerized’. As of last week, that’s what I am. Not only did getting vaccinated give me some peace of mind, it also provided me with a legitimate reason for traveling further than five kilometres. I was so excited to be going anywhere that I hung my head out the window, kelpie-style, to enjoy to full sensory experience of motion. For I am not enjoying lockdown. Not at all.
On Monday, I started to look forward to bin night. Which is on Wednesday. As a general rule, I consider bin night a chore; something that must not be forgotten rather than something for which I am breathlessly counting down the hours. After a week of lockdown, the idea of having a legitimate reason to walk down to the end of the driveway and back again was a giddy thrill I hoped would sustain me.
Tuesday, in a word, was a surprise. As I made my morning commute – which now consists for walking from the kitchen to the study whilst trying not to spill my coffee – I felt I was being watching. As my head snapped upwards and I duly spilled my white with one all over the floorboards, I noticed a fox standing at my backdoor, staring in. For a moment, each of us looked at the other, unsure of what to do.
There are foxes around the neighborhood, but this is the first time I’ve been stalked by one. Clearly, lockdown has emboldened the animal kingdom more generally. Sensing weakness, some of them have decided that now is the time to assert themselves and launch their take over. The fox seemed nonplussed and sauntered around the backyard before disappearing behind the shed. Possibly to get more foxes by way of reinforcement.
Finally, the big day arrived. To make the most of it, I put on my dinner suit and casually strutted down the driveway with both the regular bin and recycling bin. I live in an area where the local council gives you a regular sized recycling bin, but a smaller regular bin that is somewhere between an adult sized wheelie bin and a Coles mini-collectible. It fits enough garbage; it’s just that to wheel it around, you’d ideally be no taller than four feet. Mind you, I’ve never met anyone from my local council who, for all I know, may all be Oompa Loompas.
Despite the awkwardness of carrying my regular bin whilst rolling the recycling bin down the driveway, I found that my neighbors had put their bins out already. Meaning that I had completely squandered my only chance for meaningful human contact for the entire week. I resolved to message my neighbors and synchronize our watches so that, in future, we could make the most of one of the few sanctioned reasons for being outside.
Thursday was the big one. That’s the day I’d allowed for take away food. Forget Uber Eats. I wanted the full experience of walking somewhere to pick up a meal. Masking up, I put a bag under my arm and began purposefully striding towards the main street; passing as I did, my empty bins which I hadn’t taken in because I was saving that for a special occasion. I was on a mission.
I’m a big believer in the whole ‘QR Code’ thing. So much so, that I’ve installed them at the entry points to every room in my house, despite the fact that I live alone. Even an early morning trip to visit the water closet isn’t complete if I don’t scan in. You can’t be too careful. As I continued walking to the main drag, I clutched the phone in my pocket, ready to whip it out and do my duty. As I approached the entrance, I pulled out my phone to find a message that said it was ‘disabled’ except if it was an emergency.
This was unexpected. A phone is currently the passport to pretty much everything and I had no idea which buttons I’d inadvertently pushed to achieve this result. It was unclear how long this telephonic paralysis was going to last. I was also unsure whether picking up a kebab would constitute an emergency as such, although I was kind of peckish.
Luckily, the phone unlocked itself and I was able to scan in and get dinner. Although, that said, there was a brief moment of awkwardness when I’m sure the person serving me said it would be ‘forty dollars’ which, unless you’re at an airport (and, let’s face it, none of us are), is quite a lot for a kebab. It then became apparent that between the mask and Perspex screen, I’d simply misheard him.
As of Friday, the fox is yet to return. It’s another five days until bin night and there’s not a whole lot to look forward to. I’ve taken to wearing my dinner suit all day, every day. I can’t be sure, but I think it’s making other people in Zoom meetings feel uncomfortable. For now, though, I’m taking some assurance in being fully vaccinated and in knowing that others are keen to get theirs also. It will all be over soon. Or, at least, I hope so. We need to get out of this thing before the foxes get a chance to mobilize and take over once and for all.