Saturday, November 14, 2009

H1N1 Tailgating

Swine flu fever has swept the country, and we've caught it. The metaphorical fever, that is, not the literal one. Unfortunately, vaccinations in Los Angeles County have been in pitifully short supply, which has only served to ratchet the fever up to... well... fever pitch. It's like the H1N1 vaccine is to 2009 what Tickle-Me-Elmo was to 1997.

For once, the Boo's blood condition was a blessing, allowing him to be one of the first kids in his pediatrician's office to receive the H1N1 vaccine. My being in a family way, however, has been of absolutely no help in my own quest to be vaccinated. None of my doctors even have it yet, so on a recent Saturday, me and two mommy friends, Sheila and Julie, lined up super early at Jesse Owens Park in the hopes of getting vaccinated through one of the county-run free clinics. The clinic was scheduled to open at 9:00 am, but we arrived just before 6:00 am. Like I said, it was SUPER-early. And, lest you think we were being paranoid, let me inform you that there was already a line of people ahead of us about a block long!

Our hubbies arrived with the kids about an hour later, and what should have been a morning of anticipatory drudgery took on a strangely festive feel. With the snacks, lawn chairs, and friends gathered together, it almost felt like we were engaging in some really boring, mid-thirties form of tailgating.

The kids had plenty around to keep them entertained. To the delight of Benjamin and Nolan, one of the police officers assigned to the event flashed the lights on his squad car.

And when they grew tired of that, the boys were content to just sit together on the stoop, where they hung out and admired Kayla's cute outfit.

By 9:00 am, the line had grown from being about a block long to being about a mile long. As we prepared to enter the gymnasium where they'd be giving us the good stuff, we surveyed the hundreds of people that had arrived after us. Sheila, Julie, and I couldn't help but feel mollified in our decision to be such overzealous early birds.

As chaotic as the scene outside the gymnasium was, inside it was very orderly and calm. We'd each been given a color-coded bracelet which let the dispensing staff know which tupe of vaccine to give us, and it took only minutes for each of us to be inoculated. Though Benjamin wouldn't be getting an injection, his eyes grew as big as saucers when he saw the table full of shiny needles.
As soon as we'd all received our vaccines, we decided to treat ourselves to dim sum at our favorite spot in Gardena, the Sea Empress. We dined on swine spareribs, swine-filled water dumplings, swine and shrimp shui mai, and BBQ swine-stuffed steamed buns. All that waiting had left us famished, and we inhaled the food like we hadn't eaten in weeks. You might even say that we ate like pigs.
Stay healthy, everyone!

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