I got my second shot Wednesday morning, then went home and waited to be laid low, but nothing happened. A little soreness around the area where I was pricked, but not much else. I almost felt cheated. I spent the whole day watching movies.

The next morning I got up early and went to the airport to rent a car and drove to Michigan. It was my fourth trip to Dekker Bookbinding. There was no one available to help me load boxes because it was their lunch hour, so I drove to Russ’ for a piece of pie. I’ve eaten at this place every other time I’ve picked up books, so it would’ve been wrong to skip this part of my publishing ritual. I drove back to the dock and ate pie and drank coffee while waiting. A few minutes a young guy drove up a pallet with my boxes and we stacked them in the back of the SUV. The whole thing took less than five minutes.

I drove south to Kalamazoo to meet Jessi for coffee. We haven’t seen each other in over a year and a half, when she’d left Chicago for Michigan. She was the first friend outside a small circle I see regularly that I’ve seen in the flesh since lockdown. It felt normal, but also welcome. She bought a book, then we said goodbye and I drove back to Chicago.

I took advantage of the car and hit Rogers Park and Evanston to drop off book orders. I left them in foyers and mailboxes, handed them off into a few people’s hands. It’s the most time I’ve spent in a car since driving to Boston last fall, but because of the multiple stops, it reminded me of food delivery and cab-driving. I spent fifteen years doing those jobs, which now feels utterly unreal, absurd. How did I not kill a single person in all that time? Driving is a horrible thing for the human psyche.

I got home and unloaded the boxes, then returned to Midway with the car and took the Orange Line back. I was spent but satisfied with the day.

The next morning I packed and labeled out-of-town orders. It took hours. Thankfully, I passed a USPS truck en route to the mailbox and gave them my garbage bag full of packages. I spent the rest of the day biking books about. I hit Bucktown, Wicker Park, Logan Square, and Little Village. I caught up with old friends along the way. It felt like a holiday, as if I was Santa Claus.

I’m happy with how the book turned out. If it’s the last one I publish, I can live with that. We’ll see. Feels like the end of something in a way I need some time to get a grasp on.

So if you haven’t bought one, now’s the time. Or, if you don’t like reading, just get the t-shirt.