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How to cure your boredom while waiting in line for the COVID-19 vaccine

At last, the moment you dreamed of all year is here — your vaccination day. The thought of being pricked with a needle has never been more thrilling.

Perhaps your city has converted a sports stadium, a local college or some big, empty parking lot into a mass vaccination site. Easy! All you have to do is sign up, show up and …

Oh no. The line for vaccines snakes all the way around the building and outside. There are what seems like miles of eager folks waiting to be immunized ahead of you. Your excitement dims. This vaccination journey won’t be brief.

Don’t resort to twiddling your thumbs on what’s meant to be a momentous day for you and for public health — come prepared with balms for boredom. We’ve got options for introverts, social media mavens and everyone in between to enjoy the time in line for the vaccine. You know it’ll be worth the wait, but you might as well make the trip there fun, too.

Bring a device

You know you’ll need it. Make sure your phone or tablet (or a laptop, if you’re that good at balancing) is fully charged beforehand. Bringing a portable charger wouldn’t hurt, either, if you’ve got one.

Talking to a friend on the phone for hours will eventually grow stale, so consider these digital alternatives:

Document your vaccination journey. Normally an hours-long wait wouldn’t be fun to follow along with, but 2021 is weird, so carry on. Share with your followers who haven’t yet been vaccinated what your experience is like — the anticipation, the environment, your tips for comfy shoes to wear. They’ll appreciate the advice! The holdup is also an excellent opportunity to practice poses for your first post-vaccine selfie.

Plan your post-vaccinated life. True, we’ll still need to wear masks and keep up with social distancing after we’re fully vaccinated. But you’ll have more freedom than you’ve had in a year, so live it up as safely as you can. Maybe you’ll buy some movie tickets or get a reservation at your favorite restaurant. Finally, you can make plans with other vaccinated friends and family and return to hobbies you’ve missed. Start getting excited!

Plug in. If you’ve got neither the interest nor the energy to engage people online, turn to TikTok. You’ll get so immersed in the bizarro humor, useful life hacks and clips of a sweet dog approaching consciousness that you may not need to look up until it’s your turn for the shot.

If TikTok isn’t your speed, audiobooks are still excellent ways to pass the time and dive into another world. And if you’d prefer to transcend the astral plane while you’re in line, meditation apps like Calm and Headspace can take you there. Just don’t relax too much — you may hold up the line.

Make friends

Ready to resume your social life but worried you’re rusty at making conversation? Swap stories with your comrades in line and brush up on small talk while you wait.

Feel free to steal these conversation starters: How long did it take you to score an appointment? How many days in a row did you spend inside during the beginning of the pandemic? Did you, too, survive on nothing but cheese and ice cream for much of 2020? Sharing potentially embarrassing anecdotes from your pandemic life is easier with a mask on. (And remember to keep a safe distance of at least six feet while you chat, if possible.)

Maybe you’ll strike up a friendship with someone who’s just as eager as you are to get vaccinated. At the very least, you’ll get back into the rhythm of casual conversations again.

Get moving

Maybe you’re one of those unusually motivated people who finds ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter their schedule. Make the most of staying on your feet all day with some light exercise: Stretch, jog in place, work on your squat form, tap dance. Anything to keep moving (and keep your feet from falling asleep) is a positive use of your time in line.

Afterward, swing by Krispy Kreme and enjoy your free doughnut with proof of vaccination. You deserve it!

Practice a hobby

You never finished that thing you said you were going to do. Now you’ve got more than enough time to finish it, so bring that thing with you to the vaccination site to keep your hands and mind busy.

Maybe you’ll finally complete that scarf you started knitting last year … just in time for sunny spring weather, but still! You could attempt to beat your previous high score in a video game. You can finally crack open that book you’ve been putting off reading for months, or maybe the Duolingo owl will finally convince you to learn a new language. You may not have to wait long enough to become proficient in Portuguese, but you’ll feel productive.

And if you received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, prepare to do it all over again in around a month. Until then, bid your new friends in line adeus, post that vaccination selfie with pride and breathe a sigh of relief — you’re vaccinated, after all!

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