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I, Guinea Pig

March 30, 2021

And now I’ve had part two of The Jab just a day short of seven weeks after the first. I note that I was being cynical at the time of the first jab about my chances of seeing a second but I was wrong. I also note that other people are being kept for the full 12 weeks between jabs. Was I particularly blessed? Time alone will tell but I went for a jab in the other arm in the hope that a balanced immune system will lead to super-powers this time. That or suddenly discovering late in life that I missed my rightful invitation to Hogwarts would be acceptable.

VOICES FROM THE CHEAP SEATS: Hogwarts? You’d be lucky if you ended up at Dom Daniel rather than the Scholomance, you evil old fart! ME: The catering’s better at the Scholomance. Not so many pupils in a class and a lot less reliance on fish. There is the damnation to be considered it’s true.

Anyway, the reason I received my second blessing so soon is a bit of a tale. I didn’t get my booking via the online booking system which was in its early days then but via my doctors’ surgery. I didn’t get a second date when they jabbed me either but only the assurance I’d get called a second time. So I put a note in my diary twelve weeks ahead (April 28th): ‘You should have been jabbed by now’ and let it be.

I ignored the letter inviting me to book my jab via the internet which arrived a short while after the jab: I reckoned I was covered. And then all my mates started posting about how they had used it and had a comitment to both dates. (They got the job done and people were still being cynical about the Tories often in the same post which warmed the cockles of my heart but I’m aware my friends may not be a representative sample.)

And then I started worrying because I’m a terrible worrier (see Joyce Grenfell). So I rang my doctors’ surgery to check and they had ‘Please don’t call us about vaccination appointments: we’ll call you’ in their opening answer phone message so I did that.

And then the very next day (Honestly! Sometimes I feel like I’m being guided by a Higher Destiny.) the government was making a statement via the BBC that old and vulnerable persons (which sacred band I joined a few months back) should ensure that they have their second jab booked ‘before they ran out of appointments’. I swear that’s what it said. Well, actually I swear that’s what I thought it said. My brain is not displaying any super-intelligence just now.

So I rang up and spoke to the Nice Receptionist who recognises my dulcet tones and she said she was sure she didn’t know. So I hung up… And within twenty minutes I’d not only been called by their Person In Charge Of Covid Jabs who had got the wrong end of the stick and thought I hadn’t had my first one yet but also got a text message which allowed me to book today’s appointment.

Only imitate my actions if you think you can stand the weight of guilt of suspecting yourself of queue jumping for the rest of your life that I’ve just acquired.

A-Z vaccine again and I wore my Ken & Robin Phoenix t-shirt this time. Not a sign that they had noticed it. Not a titter to be had. Ars Longa, Vita Brevis as the actress said to the bishop.

The weather is warm and spring like. If it lasts and it may not I think I may go for a walk in the park later. I may also post more about the Second Saga of the Rats of High Wycombe dependent on how much comic effect I can drag out of the visits tomorrow of a) the chap from the anti-rodent people come to pick up his poison and b) the chap from the new landlord’s maintenance contractors to see if I am for some mysterious reason lying about the holes in the kitchen skirting board. He said he was coming in the morning but wasn’t afraid to face the apparition of me in my night shirt if he rouses me out of bed at Some Ungodly Hour.

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  1. Without getting deeply into queue management theory, it’s often better overall to get people through quickly and smoothly than to slow them down but make sure they’re going in the right order. As in, you as part of a group of higher-priority people might well get dealt with sooner if you let some lower-priority people queue-jump you than if you start a fuss about it which causes a delay for everyone.

    (Which of course is what an habitual queue-jumper relies on, whether or not they know it.)

    Tomorrow should be warm like this, then it’ll drop off a bit.

    • I’m still not going to repeat the experiment… At least I hope I won’t too often.

      I don’t feel guilty about not recycling glass because the council won’t provide blocks of flats with anything more complicated than big green communal Grundon bins. I can use up my middle class guilt on queue jumping.

  2. Chorlton Voice permalink

    But I want to know more about queue management! My second jab is 19 April, I think. Or maybe 28th. I had best find that little piece of card they gave me when I went the first time…..

    • It would probably be best if you take it or at least know when your injection was and which vaccine you were given. I hadn’t been told to take my card with me: I think they must be assuming no-one could be scatter-brained enough to turn up without it which makes me wonder how many dithery old gentlemen they’ve actually dealt with.

      As it happens I had put it safely and securely in my wallet. A little too safely and securely because I couldn’t find it (thrust deep into a pocket behind my debit, Tesco and Nectar cards) when they asked for it. I did remember the date and the type and they gave me a piece of paper with today’s details on to transfer to the card when I found it.

      Which I did when I got home but by then I’d managed to put down the piece of paper with the details on somewhere safe and there was another hunt and more panic.

      I put the card back in the same place once I’d annotated it. It really is the most secure location in my wallet.

      It all makes work for the non-working man to do.

    • As far as I can tell you can mostly model queues as fluid flow, with turbulence. Except that unlike fluids a mass of people flows faster along a wall (presumably because there’s that feeling that you can cram up close to it and potentially steady yourself, in a way you can’t if it’s a mass of people). This is why dividing walls in front of exits are a good thing.

      Mike, I was also not told about bringing the card back. And it was a nasty scrappy little piece of paper, the sort of thing I’d normally lose at once.

      The current rubbish contractor here takes a mixed recycling bin of glass and plastic and a few other things, as well as a separate paper bin. But I think flats with shared bins are always dealt with as a special and separate sort of thing.

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