From The Archives -- America Is Ready To Explode

[ Posted Monday, April 12th, 2021 – 13:58 UTC ]

This isn't going to be a new column on politics. It's not even going to be a full column, really. I am scheduled to get my second vaccine shot this afternoon, therefore I didn't have the time for either one of those things, sorry.

After today, I've got a few more weeks of waiting and then I will feel (relatively) safe once again. I am not saying this to lord it over those who have not even gotten their first shot yet, because I know how bad "vaccine envy" can be. I say it positively instead, as an encouragement -- because you too will be here, very soon now. Take heart!

Not every state has thrown the doors wide open for anyone age 16 and up to get vaccinated. But we are fast approaching that point. California will do so in a few days' time, later this week. Other states have already hit this milestone, meaning it is now just a matter of getting an appointment for any adult. That's all good news. If your state isn't quite there yet, you won't have long to wait until it is at that point, when everyone who wants a "Fauci ouchie" shot can get one (or two, depending on the brand).

And then you'll have to wait perhaps another four weeks for the second shot, and another couple weeks after that. But it's coming soon. A matter of days or weeks, not months, in other words. We have seen the light and are fast approaching the end of this long, dark tunnel.

All of the vaccine envy will soon be over. Parents who have already been vaccinated will be able to get their children vaccinated (age 16 and up). For those with younger children, the trials are already underway and certain vaccines may soon be approved for age 12 and up. The youngest are going to have to wait the longest, but even that will hopefully only be a few more months.

Right after I got my first shot, I wrote a column about what effect this is going to have on the country at large this summer. I am going to run this column once again, below, since when I re-read it I found it all still relevant.

At some point soon after all the states throw open vaccination appointments to anyone old enough, everyone who wants a shot is going to be able to get one. And that is the point where health experts and health departments (local, state, and federal) are going to be begging more people to come in and get vaccinated. That has, until very recently, seemed way too optimistic (or perhaps farfetched) to even contemplate, but this switchover point -- where all of a sudden there is more supply than demand -- is fast approaching. We should hit it before summer (as with how the states threw open the appointments, this will happen in different times in different places, but it'll happen everywhere a lot sooner than you might expect).

We can get to herd immunity, if we try hard enough. And when we do get there, life is going to change for the better. Someone pointed out to me a while back (probably some article I read) that we've all trained ourselves -- for over a year now -- to just be afraid of each other. Contact with other humans, no matter how distanced, no matter how fleeting, has had an element of danger to it. Serious, perhaps deadly danger.

That feeling is soon going to pass, hopefully. Hopefully the psychic scars from thinking this way for so long about interactions with other people in such a negative light will not be too bad, and can be fully reversed, eventually.

I'm not out of the woods yet. I'll still have the final waiting period until the second shot has had a chance to fully work. And I do sympathize with everyone who is still waiting -- no matter where you are in the schedule. But it's hard not to feel a real sense of optimism about life, at this point. It's hard not to see better times ahead. Here's hoping that everyone can share in such feelings very soon now.

And if you'll now excuse me, I have an important appointment to keep.


Originally published March 18, 2021

[Two things, before I begin. One, that title is metaphorical and actually downright optimistic, in case anyone read it as the opposite. Two, I rarely if ever (can't remember the last time, if it even existed) write about psychology here, except as it pertains to politics (like playing the fun parlor game of guessing precisely which aberrant personality disorder fit our previous president the best, for instance). So this will be a somewhat-unusual column, just to warn everyone in advance.]

America is on the verge of an explosion. I can feel its rumblings already. My guess is it's already started happening in a small way, and in the next two or three months it is going to spread like wildfire. OK, I'll stop with the flaming metaphors and just explain what I'm talking about instead, how's that?

Here's the best way to put it: "What are you going to do when it's over?"

What will you do when you get fully vaccinated and the general public approaches the fabled herd immunity? How will you celebrate this milestone? Got any plans?

We've all been locked down for way too long. It has become a state of mind, for most of us. Things are different -- the world has changed. We have shrunk our spheres of personal contact so dramatically that it has affected most parts of our lives. We've all got (take your pick) cabin fever or perhaps a bunker mentality. Everyone's been stressed out, no matter what you call it. Some of us have been seriously stressed out.

We are, in a word, exhausted. And there's even a name for what we're all going through, now: Pandemic Trauma and Stress Experience, or "P.T.S.E." It stems from having to adapt to a new and very strange reality, and coping with it as best as we all can. Some of us developed new hobbies (sourdough bread, anyone?). Some of us accomplished things we never had the time to tackle before now. But most of us (I would bet) just spent way too much time just binge-watching or even (a new word coined in the midst of the pandemic) "rebinging" shows we had already seen many times before. It was the mental equivalent of comfort food (which we also ate way too much of, by the way).

But now we're on the brink of all that being over.

We're all about to get vaccinated. And that's going to usher in enormous changes. Because people are -- for the first time in over a year -- going to feel safe again. And it will be a wonderful feeling.

Personally, I'm still in Limbo. I got my first shot this week, but won't get the second one for almost a month. So I have a little taste of how people's thinking is going to drastically change, but I'm not fully there yet.

In fact, I even hesitated to publicly admit that I've had my first shot. So many people haven't, and (this was me, last week) that breeds a deep and rarely-admitted "vaccine envy" whenever you hear from a friend or coworker that they have been vaccinated already. I certainly don't want to motivate that in anyone, because (like I said) I already know what it's like (and it's not pleasant). The reason I do admit it is that it really isn't going to be all that long before everyone will at least be where I am now at -- a matter of a few weeks, at the most. The end is in sight.

Which is why I found myself wondering what it's going to be like when we all make it out the other side and are totally vaccinated and as safe as can be. And that's where the explosion metaphor came from, because I truly do think we are on the verge of a new travel and vacationing golden era. It might not last long (maybe a year or two), but I bet everyone (with the means) is already thinking about what they're going to do when we all get let out of the cages of our houses once and for all.

Maybe you're dreaming of flying somewhere. Flying on an airplane, with all the close contact and shared air, has been one of the worst imaginable things up until now. When all of a sudden it becomes a viable option for most once again, my guess is the airline industry is going to see a boom like they've never seen before. Prices will rise, flights will be added, and the nation will start flying high once again (both metaphorically and literally).

Vacation destinations will reap this explosive boom as well. Places that have looked like ghost towns -- and even actual touristy ghost towns out in the desert -- will once again have crowds of people at them. Normal will return a lot faster than people may now think.

This return to normalcy will be like a giant weight lifted off us all. We'll be able to finally relax and stop worrying about exchanging droplets with each other. We'll be able to hug each other again! And touch and shake hands, and all the rest of it, too.

In fact, I could have even used: "America Is Ready For An Orgy" as a title, because that is indeed what it's going to feel like -- whether it actually involves sex or not. Everyone's ready for a little uninhibited release, even if it just means taking the kids to Disneyland or whatever. Just to have fun again, to not worry about staying six feet apart, to just not worry about anything at all anymore is going to feel so ecstatic that we're all going to revel in it to some degree. Maybe there will even be a baby boom nine months later, who knows?

Personally, I will probably go off on a road trip. I love driving around the country, and haven't been able to do so for too long. So I will most likely throw a dart at a map and find something close to where it hits that I haven't seen before, and just pack the car up and head for it. And I'm not going to be the only one who does so, either. National parks might get just as crowded as Disney resorts this summer, to put this another way.

Of course, we're not there yet. Even those lucky few who have been fully vaccinated now can't really just explode in a frenzy of free-spirited frolicking quite yet. In the first place, nowhere near enough other people have been vaccinated for it to be safe for all. Yet. And in the second place, when everyone else is waiting it would be unseemly and rude for the lucky few to rub it in everyone else's face.

But by the time summer rolls around, that won't even be an issue anymore. There will be no "survivor's guilt" attached to being vaccinated by then. Enough will have done so that even things like face masks and six-foot distancing will likely (and thankfully) be left by the wayside. And that's when the explosion of travel and vacations and going to see loved ones far away is going to happen in a big way.

Of course, the last weeks are going to be the toughest for everyone. Waiting to get a shot can be torture, when you know that others are getting theirs. But within about a month (maybe six weeks at the outside), even this dynamic is going to radically change. Right now, the demand is far greater than the supply. But as more and more get vaccinated and the efforts to ramp up production and delivery systems improves even more, at some magic point there will be more vaccine than arms to put it in. This is when the public health efforts will shift to begging unvaccinated people to get their shots. There won't be any long lines or difficulty getting an appointment, by this point. The health people will instead be trying desperately to hit that herd immunity mark (anywhere from 75 to maybe 85 percent of the public).

So to those still waiting: you won't have to wait much longer before the health experts start actually begging people to show up. The long lines and long waits for appointments are almost over. Help, as Joe Biden likes to say, is already here -- and the end is in sight.

Psychologically, we're all going to want to immediately forget the whole pandemic experience ever existed. We're going to want to put it all behind us forever. And we're going to throw ourselves back into normal life with gusto, just because it feels so good and we've waited so long for it.

Which brings me right back to where I started. America is about to explode into a frenzy of recreation, travel, family reunions, vacations, celebrations, and just plain having fun.

So there's that to look forward to! My advice: make your plans now, because it'll help pass the time until we actually do get to that point. That's what I'm doing, at any rate.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


15 Comments on “From The Archives -- America Is Ready To Explode”

  1. [1] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I got out of COVID jail on the 3rd. I can't say that much has changed. There are too many stupid people out there. I don't feel bulletproof, but I'm no longer fearful of dying from the virus. On the other hand, I really, really don't want to lose my senses of taste and small.

  2. [2] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    I wouldn't touch Facebook with a 10 foot pole, but if you want to, you can probably watch self-pwning insane person Terd Nugent say this on video:

    "You know, I guess I would ask you — because I'm addicted to truth, logic and common sense — and my common-sense meter would demand the answer to why weren't we shut down for COVID one through 18? COVID-1 — and there was a COVID 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 — COVID one through 18 didn't shut anything down but woah, COVID-19!"

    He was upset that his tour was canceled although you have to wonder how lucrative that would've been anyway. PedoGeezers in loin cloths are not hot.

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote: guess is the airline industry is going to see a boom like they've never seen before. Prices will rise, flights will be added, and the nation will start flying high once again (both metaphorically and literally).

    Ya just couldn't resist the subtle MJ advocacy thing, could ya?

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    And for the record, I read the title and fell directly into the "Yikes! The Second American Civil War is coming!" camp. Elevated pulse and everything, spank you very much.

    Don't do that no more. Please.

  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    First off, that Ted is truly *smh*-category insanely stupid! I cannot understand why he'd embarrass himself like that. As I'm awaiting spinal fusion on my neck *smh* hurts. So between the title and now down here in Weigantia, it's been a tough column for me, physically.;)

    He was upset that his tour was canceled although you have to wonder how lucrative that would've been anyway. PedoGeezers in loin cloths are not hot.

    I dunno, Dude. If Ted was going to tour that's because there's still money in it. And certain GeezerGals may beg to differ with you on hotness.

    Remember, "Cat Scratch Fever" and especially his tour de force
    "Stranglehold" were seminal at the time. And the man built himself a fan base.

    I hate the clown's politics but I don't begruge this rocker from continuing to, well, rock.

  6. [6] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    First off, that Ted is truly *smh*-category insanely stupid! I cannot understand why he'd embarrass himself like that.

    You really can't understand why an American "conservative" would embarrass himself by saying something insanely stupid despite them doing it 24/7? I'll tell you why. He's insanely stupid.

    If Ted was going to tour that's because there's still money in it.

    Really? Nobody ever does anything that fails?

    And certain GeezerGals may beg to differ with you on hotness.

    Good for them and their sicko fantasies. There's very little chance that any non-Trumpanzee would go to his show (except maybe you?). Besides, he likes them really young. I wonder if he eats babies, too.

    Remember "Cat Scratch Fever" and especially his tour de force "Stranglehold" were seminal at the time.

    Actually I'd rather forget, but they probably sound awesome coming out of a 70+ year old gunnut geezer in front of a geriatric Fox audience with hearing aids and walkers. Rock on! SMH.

  7. [7] 
    TheStig wrote:

    JFC- 6

    Bon-Jovi is a 59 year old gunnut geezer.

  8. [8] 
    TheStig wrote:


    Vulture ranks B-J dead last among Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. I agree. As far as my tastes go, The 80’s were the rock bottom of the genera.

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Why don't you join us Sunday nights more often?

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, what's your favourite era? Maybe we can focus on it this coming Sunday night ...

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the 80's spanned a lot of big changes. from disco and lennon's assassination to the beginnings of hip-hop and grunge.

  12. [12] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:


  13. [13] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    TS [7],

    I did not know that about B-J, but he's apparently not as obnoxious about it as TN. I really have nothing good to say about his music and I thought it was really weird that he sang a Beatles song for Biden's inauguration (although he chose an appropriate one).

    Try the Replacements for great 80's rock n roll.

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I could go for the eighties as a CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party theme! Not that we need a theme or that we need to stick to it, or anything like that. :)

    Let's do it!

  15. [15] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    The only thing I can find about Jon Bon Jovi and guns is that he's an advocate for gun control. Is that why you said he's a gunnut? It does not appear to be essential to his identity as with Nugent, so I'm confused TS.

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