Her name was Erin.
As Erin pulled the needle out of the box and put on her rubber gloves, I had the same thought as after the attendant pointed down the aisle toward her table, only more intensely.
”Oh wow … this is actually happening.”
… after I finished showering Sunday morning, Suzi yelled over from the next room that she had just gotten text messages that we could sign up through the state … immediately.
I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, or be this easy.
Suzi and I were eligible to get vaccinated starting Monday, and I anticipated trying to get appointments through the local pharmacies, and even checking into whether we could get shots in one of the towns not too far over the border in New Hampshire.
Sure, I had also preregistered us on the state website set up for that purpose, but I assumed that would be the backup plan in case they contacted us after we struck out every other way.
But after I finished showering Sunday morning, Suzi yelled over from the next room that she had just gotten text messages that we could sign up through the state … immediately.
I ran downstairs to grab my phone — with no glasses, it’s a wonder I didn’t fall and break something — and I had the same messages.
There were several locations to choose from, and Suzi recommended Boston, because even though it would be a bit of a drive and you never know what the traffic will be, she guessed that no one would want to actually drive into Boston for their shots.
We clicked the link, answered a few questions, and made the appointments for Tuesday morning.
The whole thing may have taken 10 minutes.
This was actually happening.
Erin thought I was being clever by wearing a red shirt, since it would match if the needle made me bleed.
However, I’m not nearly that clever. I needed to wear short sleeves so they could have access to my shoulder — the right one, because I’m left-handed — and wanted to wear them because the weather was going to be nice. The red shirt just happened to be the one I pulled out of my closet.
Getting to that point was actually pretty simple. Traffic to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston wasn’t all that heavy — looks like Suzi got another call right — and once we got there, all it took was a couple quick stops to show my driver’s license before I was on my way to meet Erin.
She double-checked my information, and as she filled out my card, we joked how the vaccination didn’t count unless you posted it online, and then it was time for the jab.
Oh by the way … have I mentioned I hate needles?
Well, I do, but there was no way I was going to complain. I just looked away as she stuck it in my arm.
I didn’t even bleed.
On to the next … .
I didn’t know how the 15-minute wait to make sure I didn’t suffer any ill effects from the shot would work. I wound up being sent to a large room with rows of socially distanced chairs, watched over by employees for the company running the clinic and National Guard troops who were providing assistance.
Suzi’s appointment was a few minutes after mine, so I texted her that I was through with no problems, and then I just sat there until I could get up and leave, passing Suzi waiting out her 15 minutes along the way.
A Red Sox spring training video interspersed with public service announcements about vaccination was the entertainment in the holding room, and outside, team mascot Wally the Green Monster was taking pictures with people.
It’s a toss-up whether I dislike needles or the Red Sox more — needles do result in physical pain, but this one contained the first dose of the COVID vaccine, I don’t have to deal with them very often and needle isn’t in my arm for very long — but given the circumstances, I didn’t complain.
I even gave Wally a fist bump.
My birthday is at the end of May, so when it rolled around last year, it was during the time when going anywhere, especially out of state, was just not done.
So Suzi and I got Italian takeout, she made cupcakes and I did a video call with my parents in New York.
They’ve been fully vaccinated for weeks, and the plan has always been for them to come to Massachusetts for my birthday this year. As long as it was just the four of us, we wouldn’t have to worry about masks or social distancing inside, but it had always been my goal/hope for Suzi and I to be fully vaccinated by my birthday.
Since our shots were Pfizer (even though we originally thought they would be Moderna), the three-week turnaround means we’ll pull it off, as we’ll be two weeks out from those shots a few days before my birthday.
And then, hopefully, the fun will begin … responsibly and with respect for others, of course.
Boston will never be New York or London in my eyes — no shame in that, since along with Los Angeles they’re my favorite cities — but pleasant days remind you that it is a pretty nice place.
Families and children were ambling through the Public Garden; we even saw a little guy feeding the geese.
A breeze blowing blossoms off a tree made it look like it was snowing, and tulips were in bloom.
At that time, we weren’t having any problems from our shots — as I was writing this, the worst was some soreness in our shoulders by the end of the day, and Suzi was a little more tired than normal — but Suzi said she was feeling one side effect … optimism.
… but I’m sort of feeling it, too.
This is actually happening.