March 29 – a reason to visit White Plains.

I was officially eligible for an appointment on February 15, so I checked the website like I was scouring for Taylor Swift front-row tickets at SPAC. There were several options at the time, but I wasn’t having much success.

The Albany site was booked up to the moon, no appointments were available. Ditto in Utica. Natch in Binghamton. No luck in Syracuse.

Then I got lucky. I ended up in a virtual queue line for White Plains. Westchester County. I waited. I waited. It seemed like an hour. Maybe longer. But then, the site opened up for me. I filled out the application.

And then the appointment list popped up.

Boom. I jumped on it like an 8-year-old on a trampoline.

And in less than three weeks, I’m rolling up my sleeve and getting my shot of COVID-19 vaccine. I don’t know if I’m getting a Pfizer or a Moderna or a Johnson & Johnson flavor (I hear the Moderna flavor has a hint of menthol), but I’m finally getting inoculated.

Okay, some of you are happy, others are like, “What’s the big deal, Miller, I got vaccinated two weeks ago, it’s not like you won the lottery or anything.”

Well, for me, it is kind of like winning the lottery. Because COVID-19 has done a “cancel culture” on my life. So many of the things I enjoyed were shut down. I now have enough facial masks to start my own lucha libre faction. I’ve even gotten to the point where I can appreciate – or depreciate – the various hand sanitizer compounds (stick with Purell, although I still have half a bottle of the Star Wars: Mandalorian Baby Yoda hand sanitizer).

I’m learning the fine art of breaking down and recycling all those Amazon boxes. I’m on a first-name basis with my Instacart drivers (including the one who can get me that delicious limoncello La Croix sparkling water, yum-o), and what turned into a necessity after a broken ankle – using Best Cleaners’ laundry delivery service – has now become part of my daily routine. Pick up on Tuesday, get ’em back on Friday.

But let’s face it. COVID-19 has emotionally affected me. The things I love to do – be a part of Albany Patroons games, go to the various state and county fairs, photograph big events, spend a day at the harness track, have a night out with a game of trivia – that’s all done. And it may take years to get back to that normalcy.

And just because other people are sloppy and careless, doesn’t mean I should be as well. I don’t want to get COVID, and I don’t want to pass it to anyone. So this injection – or the first of two injections, depending on the vaccine – is my first step back to normalcy.

Now, just because this stuff is floating around in my arm, doesn’t mean that I’m totally immune. I still have to wear a mask and socially distance, at least until I’m absolutely sure this takes hold. And even then, I need to respect others’ safety and health. We still don’t have a good knowledge of this virus. It’s mutating with lightning speed and with unmitigated fervor. Complacency is an ally of this virus, a Quisling to its Blitzkreig.

So what’s a 2 1/2 hour trip to White Plains? I’ve driven farther than that just to watch an eclipse. Heck, maybe I’ll bring a box of donuts and coffee for the workers and vaccinators. That might be a nice touch.

Just one thing, though. After I get vaccinated, I want something that proves I got the vaccine. I want a button. A stickpin. A T-shirt. Something. Some sort of visual proof – other than the vaccination card – that proves I was marked SAFE from COVID-19.

So if the organizers in White Plains happen to catch this blog …

I take a size 2X T-shirt. Cotton-poly blend is nice, the softer the better.

Just look for the guy who’s bringing a carton of donuts and a box of coffee from upstate.