Last Friday, I left work to join the pandemonium outside of the Reid Centre in Mount Pearl. This was my designated clinic and as I reluctantly listened to all of the reports throughout the morning from Cecil Hare on CBC radio and our beloved callers to Open Line with Randy Simms, I realized that the sooner I got in the lineup the sooner my son would receive his vaccination to combat the possibility of his little body contracting the H1N1 virus.
The doors weren’t scheduled to open until noon, so I thought I was safe joining the lineup after I clued up my work for SHELTER youth that night. So, although I didn’t think my afternoon was in jeopardy, I did get home to pick up Kayla and Kendrick as fast as I could. It was 12:53 pm when we pulled into the parking lot to discover the line up was already hundreds deep. Clearly, this day was not going to be any ordinary day. The short of it is that we left the parking lot at 7:38 pm and the time in between arriving and leaving consisted of 5 hours outside in the cold, a trip to WalMart for K n K and one to McDonalds for moi. The not-so-short part of it (outside of the obvious 6 hours and 45 minute wait), is the real reminder that played out as the hours passed us by. Directly around us in line was such an eclectic group of people: a very personable teacher and her business exec husband and 2 teens, a 8 month pregnant lady and her 3 year old son, 2 gentlemen/comedian types who ‘NEEDED’ the vaccine now b/c they are going to Labrador for work (?!!!), and so on. As we moved inside to very close quarters, it dawned on me that your status in society was checked in @ the parking lot entrance. No matter what your income, your social network, or job title…you were now at the mercy of the same standards as everyone else. Add that to the reality we were ALL waiting for the same solution to this mass pandemic resonated with something in me.
Then, just days later the news has broken that the Calgary Flames NHL team managed to manipulate their way past the massive lineups to have themselves and their families immunized before much of the high risk population in Alberta (Flames Flu Saga ). Wow, what a loud statement that totally contradicts what resonated within me last Friday (did i mention it was an almost 7 hour wait lol – and no port-a-potty)! Surely, Ken King and the Flames execs could foresee at least the potential PR nightmare that this could initiate. People have a right to be rotted at such a move. The word I heard a Calgarian gentleman chalk the situation up to today was ARROGANCE. I can’t argue that…not even a flames fan could.
In all seriousness – it is amazing that it could take something like the H1N1 virus to remind us that we are all on the same playing field here. No one is indispensable or immune (pardon the pun) to the potential trouble/peril in this life. But, what a neat reminder or encouragement for us to embrace that reality – that my ‘neighbor’ is as valuable as I am.
Let’s commit to ‘living in the lineup’ and not ‘jumping the queue’ to get ahead. I can think of another global need with only one solution that levels the playing field (great news).