I got my first COVID shot the other night – one of the advantages of getting old. I went to UCLA Hospital in Santa Monica to get my shot, and it turned into quite an adventure.
First, I drove over there from mid-Brentwood. It was close to 7 p.m. on a Friday night, and there was no traffic. It was kind of fun to drive; my car doesn’t get much exercise these days.
Then, when I parked, I realized I had forgotten to take a mask with me. I didn’t want to miss my appointment, which was coming up in 10 minutes. I called my wife and asked if she would be so kind as to to immediately drive over, mask in hand.
She was cool about it. Stuff happens.
So then I checked in, got in line, everything went very smoothly. Hats off to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital! Everyone seemed happy to be there, the staff was exceedingly welcoming, we were all getting our shots! Lots of smiles all around.
But my Friday night adventure was just beginning.
I walked back to my car, and it wouldn’t start. It made some horrible grinding noise, but it wouldn’t start. I pulled out my phone in the hope of calling my wife to come bail me out – again. But I was down to 1% cell phone battery!
With visions of having no car and no phone – and walking back to Brentwood in the dark – how long would it take? – I quickly dialed my wife again, hoping there would be enough battery left to blurt out that she should call AAA and come back and rescue me – again.
It wasn’t so ha-ha the second time around, but she said OK. She suggested I call AAA if I could, so as to save time.
I still had a tiny bit of battery left and called AAA. Thank goodness, the lady on the phone was willing to talk quickly and put in the rescue order. The tow truck driver came right away and arrived at the very same time my wife did.
It was good I called my wife; I was informed that if AAA had to tow my car, I couldn’t ride in the cab with the driver, even with my recently-delivered mask, because of COVID.
If he did have to tow me, the Honda place was only a few blocks away. So that was good. Maybe I’d be home at a semi-decent hour.
The AAA guy looked beneath the hood and said my battery had died – possibly because of the little or no driving I’d been doing for months. Thank goodness, he had a replacement battery in his truck.
Within 20 minutes I was on my way, with my wife following in the car behind. Whew! We even had time to watch a movie.
So where am I going with all this?
As humans, we tend to respond – quickly – to a crisis. But we do a very crummy job preparing to avoid the crisis in the first place.
I could have checked to make sure I had a mask before leaving home that night; I could have started my car more often in the weeks prior, so as to keep my battery charged; I surely should have made sure I had a fully charged phone before leaving the house.
When you think about it, our country always seems caught short when the unexpected happens – Pearl Harbor, 9/11, Katrina, big fires, earthquakes, floods, COVID, the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the Texas snowstorm – it’s always the same old story. Everyone is shocked, lots of fingers get pointed – then it’s back to business as usual.
Earthquakes and fires are the most likely events we need to worry about in LA. How many of us really have enough water, food and batteries stored away? How many have a “grab bag” ready to go? How many have a knapsack with the basics – including walking shoes – in the trunk of their cars? Where would you meet up with others if it came to that?
Something to think about; something to act on. I should start thinking about this – my second shot is coming up soon! I’ll go start my car right now and let it run for a while. The other day I stuffed a mask in the glove compartment.