Vaxashamed

I have never felt more of a disappointment in my life than the other day. I mean I’ve heard my parents say it to me the first morning after I drank too much one night but that’s a whole different connotation. The other day I went out to this little dive bar down the street from my apartment and the way the people around me made me feel I sat there quietly, disheartened, and disappointed with myself.

I went out since it was like this going away party for my buddy and he wanted to catch one last jazz night before he left. This bar we went to evidently host all this different kind of low key jazz, some old motown, and jam sessions every night of the week. As soon as I walked in there I fell in love with the place. I was just as excited to go there as I was as sad at the fact that my buddy was leaving us for good.

I was the first to meet him there that night. He also invited some other friends out and somehow I was the first one there. To be completely honest I was trying to show up late. I hate being the first person to a party. I feel like there’s so much pressure that comes with it. Regardless, as soon as I saw him claiming seats for us at the bar I went over to him and dapped him up and we gave one another a hug as ole pals do before we sat down at the bar next to each other to share a drink. A couple stiff drinks I may add, the bartender was hooking us up that Thursday for sure.

Then his friends started funneling in. The first one showed up wearing a mask and it threw me for a loop. There were other people in the bar with masks on but they weren’t as young as us. They were some sixty and even eighty year olds who were dying to listen to some live music just as much as I was. The only reason why I found it so weird that she was wearing a mask was because she didn’t decide to take it off until she was with us for about fifteen minutes in. When she finally did, as she was sitting next to me, the first thing she asked me directly was, “Have you been vaccinated yet?”

Evidently a relevant question to ask a person nowadays. As soon as she saw my lips start to pronounce the word now, she swiftly put her mask back on and switched seats with my friend who was going away. It was now the three of us in this odd looking half oval so I could keep my distance from them. They didn’t have to say anything, their eyes said it all, and I could feel how disappointed they were with me.

Then another friend came in to take some of the attention off of me. This one wasn’t wearing a mask but as she was walking towards us I heard my friend say, “Don’t worry she’s a teacher she has to be vaccinated.” Immediately making me feel worse about myself. I sat there quietly, in the odd part of the circle, afraid to speak or bring any more attention to myself than I already brought. From whatI could see, as soon as they all found out I wasn’t vaccinated, they gave me the cold shoulder.

I have never been so shunned before in my life. All for being unvaccinated. Which I don’t understand, if someone is vaccinated I don’t get why it would matter if I was or wasn’t, but that’s beside the point. They made me feel so shameful that night and I was honestly about to leave until these two girls found a spot next to me at the bar.

They were both attractive for sure, but their vibe and the way they were smiling and joking was so captivating, and it made me so intrigued by them. I stayed, I turned my back to the groups of friends I was with, and spent my night hanging out with these two girls that stumbled into this bar (stumbled as in found not drunk they were receptive). We got to talking and it was their first time there just as mine and that was enough to bring us together and spark up a conversation.

We drank together for the next three hours becoming best friends, even making our own inside jokes, and were turning up on a Thursday together. After all, Thursday is the new Friday. It eventually became too late for them to be out and they said goodbye to me and after I made sure we finally exchanged names so we knew what to call each other. I asked for her number and hope to see her again one day.

It was only once they had left and I turned back to my group of friends did they finally talk to me. Something happened in those few hours I wasn’t with them to change their mind about me. It was like those few hours I spent not talking to them or maybe them drinking to the point where they didn’t care about me being unvaccinated anymore or even them seeing me talk to someone else, was enough for them to include me in the rest of the night. Even inviting me to the next bar after the jazz show.

I went from being instantly treated like a pariah for not being vaccinated in a group of people that clearly seemed stern about people getting it, (like they even offered to make an appointment for me when they initially found out that I wasn’t vaxed) to being just another one of their friends part of the group regardless of my vaccination status. I couldn’t believe the one eighty my night took and in no way am I complaining about it. I made more friends in that one night than I did last month going out and it was awesome. But I will admit it wasn’t cool being abashed the way I was.

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