I was late.
This is normal. I can set off an hour early only to discover the car needs fuel or the body needs fuel or there is a tree across the track or the dog has run off or an emergency phone call.
Anyway, I was late and the receptionist called me as I passed the bay named after an interloper. 'If you are not going to make this appointment, please let us know, so we can give the vaccine to someone else.' So when I shouldered my bag and myself into the clinic twenty minutes late, she said 'just sit over there beside room 6 and wait'.
The doctor, a portly Indian man in his sixties, left room 6, went to the reception and returned with a small, green plastic kidney tray. 'This way,' he gestured.
'Which arm?' The green tray held a hypodermic and a tiny vial. 'Right or left?'
'I don't care, any arm,' I said. But he obviously needed to know so I said, 'left arm thanks.'
'Right then, roll up your sleeve.' Or, as I pulled my dress down over my shoulder, 'Okay, roll down your sleeve.'
As he injected me, he asked 'What kind of books do you write. Novels?'
'Yes. Novels. I write novels. Sometimes.'
'All done. Good.' He binned the needle and the empty vaccine bottle and then fiddled with the forms on his computer. 'Don't go yet. There'll be trouble outside if I don't fill out this bit.'
I felt like dropping to my knees and thanking this stranger. I exited his room almost bowing and scraping. I felt so grateful in that moment. Maybe this sentiment is silly. Not sure.