The first thing G told me, between drags on her cigarettes, was that she was a hairdresser. The second thing she told me was she was unvaccinated. She said this no differently than where she was from (born and raised near by), what type of music she liked, how many kids she had (three, all grown) and other introductory small talk.
I was in a bar in rural Massachusetts, sitting outside alone, near the smoking table. I hadn’t asked her any questions, but was clearly an outsider among regulars who talked at me and around me. I don’t remember exactly why she chose to be unvaccinated, but I can guess. I have heard so many versions from people similar to G across the country. So many people who proudly tell you, almost as quickly as they tell you where they are from and their name, that they are unvaccinated.
Maybe it was like what S, an old man in the South Bronx told me, that it would turn him into a Zombie. Or L, a middle-aged woman, in central Pennsylvania that “Miss Bettie from X, a few towns over, she got the shot, had a stroke, died. Same with Miss Bettie’s sister. Shot. Stroke. Died.” Or maybe it was like D in Indianapolis, who said “It is made from the same stuff in rat poison.” Or maybe it was like P in Florence, South Carolina, who said she ‘worked in Y store since this all started, all around people, and I haven’t gotten it. I must have some sorta natural immunity.’