On February 25, I got my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine bright and early, picked up a breakfast burrito on the walk home, and spent the rest of the day sitting in my desk chair, doing what can only be described as vibing. I felt a little bit stoned, like I had taken a low-grade edible instead of being shot up with cutting-edge technology that would help end a year-long global disaster. This acute, mildly high feeling—“brain fog,” a known side effect of the vaccines—lasted about two days. As potential side effects go, it was rad.
More durable, though, was the strange feeling that began when I made my appointment. In the hours after scheduling my shot, I blew a deadline and was late to meet up with friends for a very cold outdoor hang. I was overcome with relief, everything felt slightly unreal, and the time-dependent obligations of my life faded to the periphery of my consciousness. In the two months since, the delirium has settled into something duller, less frantic—the keys are in the ignition, but my mind simply will not turn over.
Unlike all the other distinct ways in which my brain has felt and functioned like canned tuna at various stages of the pandemic—the dread, the confusion, the period in which I was constantly dropping things—this one is unique in that it isn’t exactly bad. My mood has been mostly fine, at least relative to much of the previous year. But I am occupied by meandering thoughts of what the next few months might be like. Do I want to go on a vacation? Maybe I just want a dinner reservation—what’s available a couple of weeks from now? Do I want to move out of the apartment I’ve been sitting in for nearly every waking moment of the past 13 months? What’s everyone doing this weekend?