Maybe it is the arrival of spring, more hours of daylight, the early spring bloom, or maybe it is a post vaccine uphoria, but my mood has lightened. And it feels good!
I had my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last Saturday. The second dose will be around April 10th, I will receive an email when appointments are available. Last Saturday, I went out to the County Administration building. I had never been there before, most everything can be done online, or by mail (like paying property taxes, renewing car registrations.) It is larger than many state's state office building, but then Fairfax County has an economy larger than many smaller states. The process was efficient, I was in and out in about half an hour. They were set up to process 6,000 people in that one location, on one day. And there were other locations available.
In a few weeks I will be a immune as I can be. I will still be careful. I am not sure if I can be immune and still infect others, and I wouldn't want to do that. But I will feel more comfortable returning to public transit, visiting public places, or maybe even eating out, something we have done fewer times in the past year, than we normally did each month.
I am looking for a new desk chair for home, and someday, I will find the perfect chest of drawers for my bedroom, so when I left the county administration building I stopped at the nearby shopping mall that has one of our favorite furniture stores. I masked up, stayed away from people, it was not crowded. It is the first time I have been in a shopping mall in over a year.
I arrived at 10:30, to find that the stores didn't open until 11:00. Okay, part of the stop was to get in a nice walk, so I tired walking around the outside of the mall. I was struck by what an unfriendly place a shopping mall is. Massive windowless walls, few doors. This one is especially unfriendly, with parking garages, changes in elevation, it is virtually impossible to walk around the exterior of the building. What an ugly and unwelcoming place. Inside is not much better, a maze, of corridors, look alike stores with fake window displays. About 1/3rd of the stores are empty, including a huge failed department store. It is a really sad and uncomfortable place. One thing that was improved, and is likely a sign of future bad news for retail, the stores were less packed with merchandise. You could walk through Macy's without bumping into tables and hanging racks. This made the shopping more pleasant, but is probably a sign that they are ordering in and stocking less merchandize, expecting to sell less. I don't think the consolidation and closures are done. One can hope that when the dust settles from tearing down the failed monuments to retail, the next generation of shopping is more welcoming, more people friendly.