No Yoyo Ma, but all good

These days most zoom calls I’m in on or overhear begin and end with discussions about vaccination. How did you get your slot? Which shot did you get? Any side effects? Have you had the second? Where did you end up going? If you’ve heard enough, scroll on because I got my first vaccine today and I’m gonna write about it!

It was at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston and what a well-run operation it was. The navy was there! There was NO waiting. Given how badly our (Republican) governor rolled out the vaccines during Phase I and II, I wasn’t sure how it’d go.

I registered for an appointment through the state’s mega-vaccine-site-site (think Fenway Park) and didn’t expect to hear back, honestly. So when my primary care doctor offered me a slot, I took it even though it was a month off.

Then the state-run operation came through with a slot two full weeks earlier. I grabbed it. Amazing how long two weeks feels in the new terrain of waiting for immunity.

Getting there: my map app arbitrarily goes mute when I can least afford it, so I wrote the three critical turns on a slip of paper. Super old-school, I know. Finding the parking garage entrance was the only part I was worried about. And maybe the path on foot through the guts of the Prudential Center. I get turned around even in malls that have linear east/west layouts, so… (it’s intentional on the part of the designers, I’ve read, but who am I kidding?)

A trip somewhat familiar, and yet? It’s been a long time since I jumped in the car and routinely went places. Even a run to Staples in the next town over gave me pause recently. But since this errand fell in the realm of reclaiming my life, it felt important to go alone.

I calculated that I needed to leave forty-five minutes early in order to arrive at a reasonable time. They wanted you there fifteen minutes early.

I got the very first spot in the garage. I mean — steps away from the gate. If I’d retraced the car’s route to street level, I’d have reached the auditorium in minutes, without a second of disorientation. Sky, buildings, curbs. Alas, I had to use the elevator and make my way through the Pru’s “lobby.”

When I hear “lobby,” I think of a large shiny entry way with a chandelier. Maybe a few clusters of tasteful plants and seating. This was not that. It was a labyrinthine path through corridor after corridor with left turns, right turns, and not much signage.

I landmarked along the way, already worried about finding my way back. Was surprised to pass my old law firm, Ropes & Gray. I’d forgotten they switched towers once upon a time. Walked under a hideous art installation of crumpled netting and crystals, but was grateful for it because well-designed or not, it was memorable. Eataly (cute!) offering Mediterranean fare. Coffee shops (with lines!). Most establishments were closed. Lots of signs telling you to “look up” which I found weird.

It took a long time, all this walking. Did I mention they wanted you there fifteen minutes early? More turns. And a few more, and at last — there was the line into the auditorium.

I am routinely punctual, but today I impressed even myself. When I queued up to the entrance (the first and only wait of the process, by the way), I checked the time. Sixteen minutes. I was sixteen minutes early. Or, to put it another way: I was almost exactly on time.

Navy troops ushered us along. “Get your ID out.” My registration form flapping. The vaccination space was gigantic and I mean gigantic.

Again, zero wait. “Go to B5.” There a young navy guy administered my shot. He told me he’s here for eight weeks, from Minnesota by way of Virginia. The magnolia are blooming in Virginia, I know, so I felt a little bad for him. “MAYBE you’ll get some nice weather while you’re here,” I joked. It was 29 degrees when I left the house.

During the mandatory post-shot wait period (another vast space), I almost immediately got a text to schedule shot number two. At the exit, I was handed a parking voucher. Did I mention what a well-run operation this was?

But then, the trek back. Going to protests in Boston, I’d learned to photograph my parking level, so I knew I was looking for the North Garage, Level 5. But I had to get there first.

Oh, look! There’s Eataly! Oh look! Here I am walking under the clumps of netting and they’re still hideous!

There was only one point in the long, non-linear route back to the car when I wasn’t sure if I’d made the correct turn, but low and behold, there on the marble wall: Ropes & Gray. Well, then.

Once back on the turnpike, I felt such relief. Thought, “I’m going home.” Home and all that might mean. I felt lighter. I tried to imagine how the same route’s gonna feel in three weeks, and couldn’t quite.

When I walked in the door, husband joked, “Did Yoyo Ma serenade you?”

Alas, no. But it didn’t matter.



26 thoughts on “No Yoyo Ma, but all good

  1. Tina

    I can totally relate to having that 1st shot lift such a weight .. with the 2nd shot it gets even lighter. I booked a flight to Myrtle Beach May 8th .. sooo nervous 😬 but excited 😜. Haven’t seen my baby sister in close to 3 years. When you come from a large family scattered everywhere time between visits is hard .. especially as we are all aging.
    Really really happy for you getting your shot.

  2. Aneliese

    Nearly the same here, in Southgermany. No waiting time, perfect organisation – but we were some of the first to be vaccined. And like you walking on and on, in a tremendeous large exhibition hall. No special reaction. It IS the one and only theme in conversation. Happy Easter and stay well.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thanks Anneliese. I might as well tell you here (since I do not seem to be able to leave messages on blogger blogs): how much I liked your portrait pillow. Especially the leaves as hair!

  3. Liz A

    I jump in the car and go … to the store, the library, the bank, CVS … heck, I even flew to St Louis … just like the Before Times

    Did a whole year of going nowhere really happen? Or was it all a dream? If it weren’t for the masks I’d think I just woke up … if only …

    1. deemallon Post author

      Yeah there is an air of unreality, isn’t there? Once I feel free to go to the PO again, I may actually get busy trying to get rid of some of my inventory!

  4. Deborah Lacativa

    Can’t go wrong with a bunch of sailors.
    What a relief, right? Especially getting the second appointment lined up that way.

  5. debgorr

    Had my second shot this week. There is something surreal about it. Next week I want to go somewhere, anywhere that I haven’t been for a year. But nothing changes at work which is what will really bring relief… And the biggest relief is knowing my parents and grandmothers have had their second shots.

      1. debgorr

        Some things no, but some of the guidance that has been given for childcare by the CDC and the Health Departments isn’t sustainable (and has been exhausting) unless childcare costs a lot more (and that’s not feasible) or without more government involvement…and that comes with it’s own issues. I have to think that good things will come out of this last year though, there is so much more awareness about the need to support families.

  6. Rose

    Well done, mightily impressed. No such co-ordination here in Aus. In fact, nothing happening….still sitting beneath my mushroom…waiting, waiting.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Sorry to hear about the stall. I doubt you have the kind of outbreaks we do though? Something like 1500 cases a day in Massachusetts again.

      1. Rose

        So true. We are blessed in that respect. My heart weeps for all those souls who have passed, all around the world. Keep safe and well. And thanks for sharing your thoughts with us x

  7. Nancy

    Dee~ Yay! I’m so glad you are half way there! It sure does make the load lighter. I would have been overwhelmed with your vast set up, long walk…even if super organized. But, I would have felt that pre-pandemic…staying in for a year just makes it worse, gotta get my street smarts back! lol Wow what a year!

  8. Anonymous

    Yay! Congrats. The question of the day moderna or Pfizer? Be prepared for a kick on round 2. But well worth it. Congrats and happy trails!

  9. Jennifer Underwood

    I got mine at the Zoo. A very well organized drive through event with music, Harvester’s food bank and tons of helpful medical professionals and National Guard. I got the J&J shot, so no going back for 2nds, and got 2 free passes to the zoo to boot! I wish the world could make it that easy for everyone.

  10. Marti

    Took a while to get called for vaccine. R got his 2nd shot on Feb 26th but he is 78 and has heart issues. I registered way back when NM DOH first set up vaccine registry but state prioritized 75 and older and those with health issues. Since I’m 73 and no health issues, it wasn’t until March 31 that I got my first Moderna shot. Second will be on April 26…New Mexico, unlike other states that prioritized 60’s and over, took a while to go below the age of 75…still I’m half way there. Appointment was so easy as the Dept of Health is trying to make appointments as close to your address as possible. I had a specific appointment time and the shot was administered in the pharmacy of a Walmart five minutes from my house!

    In the middle of May, when it will have been two weeks since I receive the 2nd vaccine, away we will go, picnic lunch in hand. for a drive to Taos- so need to “feel” the spirits there! In the past year, we have only driven about 30 miles from here to another of my special New Mexico places, Jemez Springs. We so miss seeing our grand kids but a trip to CA is way off in the future for now….

    1. deemallon Post author

      I will get my second Pfizer the day before you get your second moderna. K and I should plan a picnic too. What a great idea

  11. Hazel

    Just great! As is your description of the event (you even gained me points with Moon as he heard me listening to Mike B.). I write down directions, for fear of phone failure & to put the general path into my mind and take photos in parking garages (Was still lost for a bit last Friday).

    1. deemallon Post author

      I actually think the GPS generation is missing out by not having the experience of getting lost. But not when there’s an appointment involved!

      1. Hazel

        Agreed! Mapping skills, handwriting, so much is being lost. Although a few years ago I got lost walking downtown, late for an appointment, with a flip phone. Called K & he talked me through and there.

  12. Jenny M

    Seems to be such a slow roll out of vaccines here in Melbourne, my Mother is 85 and still no word on when she is to be vaccinated. But as of today, it’s the 40th day in a row that our State of Victoria has recorded no locally acquired cases of covid – which is great!

  13. RainSluice

    Wow, this turned out to be a very engaging discussion! I’m just tuning in. What I keep repeating is, “there is hope again”.
    “But, for how long”, a DebbieDowner quipped at me the other day. I changed the subject. I said to myself, “Can we please take whatever window is granted and let that window open further for chrissake?”.
    Back to the mega-site for my second Pfizer this past Thursday. Jeez they were even more super efficient. No line! I’d have been early but I had dropped my precious vac card somewhere… I raced back to the car and found it on the back seat. eye roll. Zoomed back, still no line, phew! No small talk not for a micro second as happened at my first shot experience. So, I quickly dialed back my happiness and left off at “Thank you”. Yesterday I felt crappy but not debilitated. Normal today. I do delight even more in wearing my BLM mask that has “FREEDOM” printed across it. Love the Yo Yo Ma inclusion. Amazing artist.
    It is grounding for me to read about yours (Dee) and everyone’s experiences here. Last but not least, I continue to hold my breath and just HOPE herd immunity is reached in time. I only wear a double mask while at work for 5 hours 3 days a week, but my god, I don’t know how others wear masks for any longer. Talked to a doc the other day who’s been on the front lines. She smiled through telling me what hell it has been and tho’ slightly better recently (NJ), still on. I wonder if she has kids?


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