We visited Seattle today. Our family defaulted to the role of “tourist” in almost every way — dutifully parking near the famous Pike Place Market and spending the better part of the afternoon wandering from there to the Space Needle. But there was one notable exception, where we were practically Washingtonian. Almost as if we were heeding the road signs that flashed public health messaging on our way into the city, saying:
LET’S END COVID
PLEASE VAX UP WA
To put it another way: We all got to see the Space Needle — but Cor was the only one who got to get a needle jabbed into his arm (his second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine). And honestly, I think the smaller needle made our time in Seattle even more special and more memorable.
So much of the last fifteen months will be forever tinged by the COVID-19 Pandemic. In fact, this visit to downtown Seattle was really our first extended time in the heart of a major city since the start of the pandemic. And we might not have even included the city as a part of our vacation in the Pacific Northwest at all. Except for the fact that we were able to book a vaccination appointment for Cor at the CVS Pharmacy which just so happened to be a block from the Pike Place Market.
Vaccination has been a positive experience for Marci, Elliot, Olivia, and myself. Our family generally follows the advice of medical experts and public health officials. So we personally got excited when we heard that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 was granted emergency approval for ages 12 and up. Our travel plans made things tricky, though. Cor got his first dose of the vaccine back in Ohio. But the recommended three-week timeline for the second dose fell smack in the middle of our vacation. So Marci did some hard work (with consultation from a couple friends) to figure out a way to get Cor an appointment in Seattle.
And now, we’re all vaccinated! It’ll still take another couple of weeks before Cor is fully inoculated. Still, completing the vaccination process feels like a significant step. It’s also a special way that we’ll always be able to remember Seattle. Honestly, the other tourist stuff was more overwhelming than I thought it might be. Most people still wear masks west of the Cascades. (We observed that masks are not nearly as common in the middle parts of the United States). Still, cities are crowded places. Keeping six feet of space between people is difficult. And as for the famous “Gum Wall” in Seattle… Let’s just say that I would have gladly skipped it altogether if not for my teenagers’ interest.
I still prefer National Parks and scenic byways. Even outside of COVID. Still, I’m glad we got to see Seattle. We got to see some interesting and unusual sites. We got to enjoy some delicious coffee and sushi. And even though it may have been hard to keep our Space from others in the crowded city, that Needle from the CVS at the intersection of Pike and 2nd Street made things extra-special.