“Which arm?” she asks.

“Well, I always sleep on the left one.”

“Which arm?” she asks again.

Is she impatient? I’m wondering. I can’t see if there’s a smile behind her mask.

“Well, my right arm has been sore lately, so …”

“Which … arm?”

I know it’s time to choose. She’s a nurse here in “Needle Park” and has had at least 16 people in this chair, and probably has a headache.

“The left,” I reply quickly.

“I have a fresh clean needle,” she crisply replies.

“A sharp one?”

I sigh with relief.

Then it’s over.

J.P. Devine shows off where he received the coronavirus vaccine on his arm. Photo courtesy of J.P. Devine

That was Saturday. Now, it’s Sunday morning and nothing scary has happened. I’ve been waiting since 12:20 Saturday afternoon when I was needled, and nothing has happened.

For months now I’ve been Facebooking, texting, tweeting and phoning. It seems that everyone in Maine has had at least the one shot, and all the reviews but one, have been good. The one was kind of scary, but she’s back on her feet.

After months of everyone who can spell my name pushing and shoving me to get it and move on, I got it. And I have moved on.

It went like this. I took a deep breath and put my name on an online list, thinking that that would buy me time, and that it would take months for them to find me.

Well, it took two days. A sweet-voiced supervisor name Erica Gustafson called — and in a voice like a flight jump instructor standing beside me in the open door of a plane looking down through the clouds before the jump — said:

“You can do it, J.P., it’s easy and you’ll be so glad you did.”

“Did you get yours?” I asked

“Of course, this is what I do.”

She continued in a sweet, comforting flow of soft words.

My new comforting friend Erica, it turns out, lives in Waterville and is a devoted reader of my words. She takes all the required information and gives me a date.

“I’m in no hurry,” I quickly say. “June or July would be fine.”

“How’s Saturday?” She answers in the next breath.

“Saturdays are fine,” I reply. “June and July are full of Saturdays.”

She laughs. It’s a big hearty laugh, the kind of laugh, that if you’re a stand up comic as I once was and have a full house, you’re on third base heading for home.

“No, this Saturday at Augusta Civic Center, at 12:20. Is that a good time?”

Augusta Civic Center? The big place that has a big electric billboard, about 20 feet high?

I’m thinking, basketball games, conventions with balloons on the floor, country singers, rock stars and dances.

“Augusta Civic Center?” I ask.

“I’ll give you directions.”

She does. I accept.

“NEEDLE PARK,” Saturday.

“Which arm?” The nurse asks. And it’s over. I got it. I’m out of here.

That night I Facebooked seven friends, including three doctors, who have had the shot, with the same question.

“I had the shot and I’m not shaking and I feel fine. Can I have my glass of Stella with dinner tonight? I mean, I need that one glass of Stella that tells my body, ‘All is good.'”

I queried six Facebook friends for support and received confirmation — 17 replied.

Clearly, all beer drinkers.

Stay tuned.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer. 


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