An empty parking lot, a huge one, and two tents, like the ones you’ll find at a wedding reception, if it’s that kind of wedding.
A ton of policemen, a couple of lab technicians, dressed in full hazmat suits.
You have to show up in a car, mask on, windows rolled all the way up.
It’s 08:30AM and there are a few cars already, maybe seven. A van from a tv production company, with three people about to be tested, probably actors, and a driver. Me, another person from a different tv company, and a few non-tv related people. Half the people work in entertainment.
When my turn comes, one policeman motions me forward, there’s a course I have to navigate, like the ones in Drivers Ed, ending in another policeman and a STOP sign. I have to wait until the technicians say it’s ok to go.
I pull up into the tent, turn the engine off, the first technician points to a phone number, written in huge characters. I call that number and speak to her on the phone. She’s sitting two meters away, at a computer, holding a Bluetooth speaker. I can hear my voice coming out of the speaker. Loudly.
Full name, date of birth, SS number, email and phone.
I check that all the details have been properly understood on a sheet of paper she presses against the car window.
I then get my ID card and pull the mask down, she checks it’s me.
All is fine, turn on the car and move three meters forward, where I turn it off again and get ready for the actual test.
The second technician asks for the window to be rolled down half way and the same with the mask, halfway down, exposing my nose.
The swab seems to be two meters long. She inserts the thing into my nose and pushes. And pushes some more. And a little more. I feel it in my throat, all the way down, already gagging and she still has a meter to go. A little extra push.
And it’s done.
Turn the car on, and move away.
This is day 027 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can find out all about this project at 100daystooffload.com.