Scarce doses in NYC means Grandma’s in a death match.
On a snowy day I put on my boots and head to the Ford Foundation on 42nd. For the past month I’ve been online hunting for a vaccine spot.
The NYC vaccine site means I have to answers the same questions again and again. Only to be told no appointments available. The NYS site has its own set of questions. Every time to look for appointments you answer the questions again.
Vaccine slots are elusive. They come and they go. Thousands of people are playing a weird game. Sometimes I’m online at 3am.
There’s a Twitter account feeding information. You follow it and get alerts, but by the time you go to the page and answers the questions, no appointments available.
There’s a Facebook group. Go now! Appointments now! Hurry!! Answer the same questions. Answer them as quickly as you can! Too late. There’s no appointments.
There’s a small army of good hearted souls offering to help. Offering to help means sitting at a computer and refreshing a page, again and again and again. And again and again and again.
Rumors flash through the city. Javits just posted dozens of appointments! The Aqueduct race track has slots! You get a computer. You answer dozens of question. No appointments.
There’s magic. Your neighbor gets an appointment. How? It’s impossible. There’s mystery. A visiting Canadian couple gets two appointments in the Bronx. What? Someone comes in from the Catskills and gets an appointment. Wait a minute. Am I missing something here?
You try again. It’s not really a routine. It’s random. Four, five times go online, answer the questions, no appointments. It’s a digital Waiting For Godot. It’s a mocking of the fates. A slow torture. Hopeless. Of course there are no appointments. There will never be appointments.
One morning my daughter offers to help. I don’t want to bother my daughter. It’s such a huge time suck, but within hours she calls back. She got an appointment for me at the Ford Foundation. I’m stunned. She simply says she’s badass.
I’m feeling old over here. I’m not a digital cutthroat pirate. I’m like the first person killed in the Hunger Games.
I’m not exactly sure who is running this operation. It’s a mess. Literally. Millions of people in a 24/7 shootout, the fastest fingers win.
Does the government have any idea how frustrating this has been? The poorly executed process engenders a sense of despair. Not everybody has family to ride into battle as a surrogate champion. Wake up, City Hall. Fix it, State House.
The nurse at the Ford Foundation asks me if I’m excited as I roll up my sleeve. I am, and I’m grateful to the scientists, and medical workers, and pilots and truck drivers and everyone who worked to get the shot into my arm.
I walk back through the snowy city, across an absolutely magical Central Park. It’s quiet as the snow falls. I stop and feel the silence. If I listen carefully I hear thousands of keyboards click through day and into the night, searching, searching, hoping, determined, frustrated again, another page, another question. No appointments.