By Athinais Nega

Experience has shown that Greeks at their vaccination appointment often reveal aspects of their personality. If they have an 8 am appointment at 7:59 am they begin complaining and are baffled if things are proceeding on schedule.

“Can it be that they told everyone to come at 8 am? So many of us have been waiting so long,” one says. The vaccine centre’s door suddenly opens at 8 am on the dot!

Depending on how polite doctors and healthcare workers are, one’s experience could be likened to a visit to the paediatrician. The child is an adult citizen of all ages and plenty of sweet niceties are exchanged.

Are you on any medication?

– No.

– Not even for your little heart?

– Not even!

– Take a breath through your nose.

– “Sniff”

– You didn’t breathe through you nose! I saw you!

– But the mask is stuck on my face, how can I breathe through the nostrils?

– So that I don’t hurt you.

– You’re not hurting me, bye bye!

– Oh no, you can’t leave just like that. There will be a little wait of 15 minutes!

– Maybe I shouldn’t stay? If I have an allergic reaction on the road I promise I’ll come back!

– You’ll wait for just 15 minutes – please don’t upset us.

Greeks at vaccine centres seem to not able to get their fill of care and they want more pampering as long as someone shows concern. Hence, the vaccination centre dialogue continues:

-They didn’t tell us if we can eat eggs and fish.

– It’s probably not significant.

– After the flu vax you can’t eat eggs.

– That’s the first I hear of it. So YOU can decide not to eat eggs!

– A head moves in disbelief and moves around because my answer was deemed inadequate. Excuse me doctor! Is it okay if we eat eggs and fish?

– Don’t eat today something you’ve never eaten before!

Doctors and healthcare workers should get a medal for all that they have had to put up with for months on end. They field questions taken from outer space with surreal fixed ideas such as the image of a fish covered with two fried eggs sunny side up.

After the doctors, the baton goes to the human body which must without interruption produce antibodies. Meanwhile, Greek families prepare “preventive” action with anti-fever medicine and engage in endless discussion:

“My hand is killing me, I had a slight fever all last night. Tasia’s son had a temperature of 39 (Celsius)!

If the pandemic were a disaster film with Brad Pitt as leading man, imagine what the audience would be shouting at the point where after many travails the COVID-19 was discovered but the leading actors were discussing slight fevers.

– Have you been vaccinated, Mrs. Nega?

– Of course!
– –
– I don’t know if I’ll wait around for it.

– But why?

– I want to have children and you already have yours.

– What’s the connection? How could the vaccine limit your reproductive capacity?
I was wrong to ask. There are women who may not fear anything but are afraid of reducing their ability to have a child as if we were chickens on a farm? I never understood why they are they not concerned about their brain, their kidneys, or their metatarsal bones?

Is reproducing our supreme mission?

– It depends on how you look at it comes the answer, just as you are about to lose your patience.

For people to fear there must be some reason beyond humour and jokes. We must show understanding even if it is based on insecurities rooted in ignorance or the hassle he had to endure for decades and made him a complainer who is suspicious and irrational. There are places where things are different but not here.

Even rationalists of late collide with the irrationality we see these days. We twist batonettes in our nostrils and our children’s. With needles and pins in the hands after vaccination, at work we have a rapid test twice weekly along with a daily statement that you don’t have COVID-19.

Nobody knows when the wall of immunity will have been achieved.

On a weekend morning I caught myself entrapped in the oversimplified television reasoning of George’s and Aftias’s shows, which are not known for daring rhetoric or an anarchic spirit

As one quipped, “We’ll need the vaccine, self-tests, rapid tests, and masks. What on earth are we supposed to do with this thing?”