Yesterday I Got the Second Shot of the COVID-19 Vaccine; Tomorrow I’m Going Skiing

I am 64 and newly retired. I want to stay in shape and have fun. Wish me luck!

Hermes Solenzol


Big Bear ski resort on January 26, 2021. Photo by the author.

First shot

As I parked in Lot 8 at UCLA, I was a bit of a nervous wreck. That’s unusual, I am normally a very calm person. However, getting the vaccine so early was an unexpected perk from UCLA and I didn’t want to miss it for anything. So I drove there early to make sure everything would work fine.

When I try to open the Parkmobile app, my iPhone went to download it from the cloud. Weird, I thought I had downloaded it just before I left home. When it finished downloading, I clicked on it again. It started downloading one more time! I ran to the paying machine. Of course, it didn’t accept my debit card. I finally managed to pay for parking with the second credit card I tried.

The UCLA campus was a ghost town. There were no cute college girls running in shorts to make me feel guilty about my male gaze. I felt a pang of nostalgia for the bygone days, the rush and the stress of working at the bench and endlessly writing papers and grants. Maybe I’ll write another grant and open my lab again. Or maybe I’ll just stick to retirement.

I entered the RR building, UCLA’s luxurious new hospital. Don’t ask me what “RR” stands for, it will increase my blood pressure.

A young woman sitting in front of a computer on a desk greeted me.

“Have you filled the survey?”

“Hmm… Yeah.”

“The one asking you if you had any COVID-19 symptoms?”

“No, not that one.”

I had taken another survey asking me if I saw patients, gave classes in person, etc. I had answered “no” to all the questions. Still, I got the appointment to get the vaccine. Weird.

“Please, scan the code on that sign with your phone. It will take you to the survey.”

After some struggle, I managed to open the survey. The first it asked me was my UCLA employee number. I had left my UCLA ID card at home. Starting to panic, I called my wife. I told her to get my ID from a drawer and read me the number.



Hermes Solenzol

Professor of neuroscience. Pain researcher. Old-school Leftist. Science, philosophy, politics and kinky sex.