Vanilla or Chocolate?


Today we went to get our first oral Covid-19 test at a free clinic set up near Van Nuys High School along Kittridge St.

When we drove up the street, a little before 9am, there was already a parking lot in the high school set up with masked attendants, and tented booths marked #1, #2, and #3. There was an ENTER sign to drive up. A woman held up two fingers and we drove up to the second tent.

Another woman asked us our first question, “Chocolate or vanilla milk?”

It was strange because we had been instructed to not eat or drink 20 minutes prior to the test. “We are here for Covid tests,” we said.

“No, no. This is for free meals for students and their families,” she said.

That cracked us up. We left that area and drove around the block looking for parking.

There was another large line of people behind St. Elisabeth’s Church. Could that be the Covid testing site? No, no. This was a food bank pantry and they were distributing groceries.

We went up to Vanowen, and then back down and we parked along Kittridge and saw a CBS-TV van filming another line of people outside of a tent. Was this the Covid-19 test line?

No, no. This was free flu shots given by USC.

Then we saw the Covid tent, and the sign, and the RV parked along the sidewalk where you went and signed in.

After we signed in, another line. Six feet apart waiting.

A tent. We were ushered in, one at a time. A masked fire department man, standing six or more feet away, instructed how to cough into your elbow, how to unzip the plastic Ziploc, how to take out the long plastic wrapped swab, how to swish it around your mouth, under your tongue, on the roof of your mouth, and then insert it into a chemical container and break off the swab so it would fit into the tube. You then disposed of the litter, dropped your sealed plastic bag into another container, fixed your mask back onto your face to cover your mouth and nose, and then you walked over to the area where they were giving free flu shots.

Before you could get your anti-flu injection, you had to scan a QR code, which created a webpage which you had to fill out, with your hands, and your poor eyesight, and your mask; fill out the form which asked you to scan your insurance card, asked for your mother’s first name, asked for your email, your home address, your allergies, your date of birth, your telephone number.

The assistants were nice, helpful. Their boss was too, after she had been interviewed by CBS news. Then you were done with the fill in the information on your smartphone and you sat down in a tent, and took off your sweater, your sweatshirt, all the layers you wore on this blustery day, and then you got your flu shot.

But the best part of the day was laughing about driving into the wrong area and being asked before anything else if you wanted vanilla or chocolate.

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