This last week was the week when I felt secure in my belief that winter had moved on and spring would be left alone to warm the air and lift the flowers from their beds. I wore shorts when I ran and put the windows down when I drove.

And this week’s weather came just after I received my first shot of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. I can recall no smoother, more joyous, and more inspiring interaction with the government—mine or anyone else’s. I’d anticipated a DMV-like experience. I was wrong. Within five minutes of entering the building, I had been received, scanned, routed, screened, jabbed, and deposited in a waiting area.

Each task was executed by a person projecting competence with a smile — the kind that’s visible through a mask. More orderly than a visit to an Apple Store, my experience at this Yale New Haven Hospital-run facility utterly renewed my faith in government and recalibrated my expectations.

On my drive home, feeling ebullient and grateful, I called my oldest and closest friend, a government scientist, and thanked him for dedicating his life to human welfare.

Optimism is infectious.


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