Allergy Absurdities

Goooood morning world, and all who inhabit it!

I awake to my room, peaceful in the morning sunlight, which filters through my white blinds. I hear birds hyper-chirping and birds twittering in low, rolling calls, and the hush of the eight A.M. traffic in the distance. My window is cracked and a lukewarm breeze wafting the scent of spring flowers seeps into my room. I feel serene upon awaking, like a green queen upon her plush flower bed. It is spring. There is an effortless hope I feel.

This lasts until the first sneeze.

Because along with the promise of summer, along with the foreshadowing of a warm April day, along with that telltale springtime scent… is pollen. And whatever else it is that makes my nose so goddamn irritated.

Upon getting out of bed, I realize my nose is a little snotty (not me– my nose). Eh, it will be dealt with later. I wash my face, do a couple of other top secret morning routine procedures that ultimately result in my radiant and flawless beauty, all the while my nose begins to run. Bleh. I’ll get to the tissue box when I get to Morning Routine Step Number 6, which puts me in a convenient proximity to those tissues.

Then the preliminary sneeze.

Out of nowhere, too. No warning. It’s just here. This sneeze serves as a warning to consume an allergy tablet at the first humanly possible instant. Forget all Morning Routine Steps, dash all the conventions out the window, because this minuscule pill that will prevent my day from being a head-banging whir needs to get into my bloodstream nownownownownownownownwonow–achoo–ow.

If I fail to take appropriate action after the first sign, then… Well, actually, I never fail to drop everything and take the tablet, because I know how devastating it can be if I don’t.

So while that first sneeze served as a warning–DANGER! SNEEZING AHEAD–it also served to jar all the snot that was already loitering in my nose and now I cannot possibly prolong blowing my nose. I’ll make a detour for tissues, a special trip. Honk! (To clarify: my nose does not honk when I blow it; it’s more like a hissing noise, but I feel like “Honk” is a more universally-understood onomatopoeia for nose-blowing than “Hissssssss.” Ya’ll would think I’m greeting a snake or something.) And then I have to take a peek at the tissue–yup, I just got rid of all that–then I feel better. For a minute.

Because then the sneezing continues. I feel it tickling in my nose near my nostrils, and then it works its way up, the tingling creeping up to the base of my nose. Almost like a thousand microscopic pinprick aches making their way up the chute. The foreshadowing of this sneeze is so obnoxious. I prepare myself by distancing my raised eyeliner pencil from my pupil, clear my cat out of the way just in case collateral damage ensues, and if I have time, reach for a tissue or toilet paper or a newspaper or something to shield this sneeze from flourishing to its nastiest potential. I take those two patented deep breaths of anticipation, pacing myself, bracing myself, psyching myself up before the sneeze explodes…

And then it flies.

I guess I’m being a little dramatic. (Me? Never. Not even for comedic effect.) I don’t actually fully sneeze. I’m a chronic sneeze-stifler. I can’t do a thing about it. A long time ago, I started halting my sneezes so that I wouldn’t let snot fly or anything. I kind of redirect the energy through my mouth, and even there, I don’t spit or anything. I jam my tongue to the roof of my mouth so all that results from my sneezing is an effectual “Hai!” noise (like in karate) and an aggressive jerk of my head. My dad has always tried to make me change the way I sneeze. “Just let it out; it’s not good to hold it in,” he says. He’s probably right. I’ve just been sneezing this way for so long that I don’t know how to let loose, release my inhibitions, feel the rain (or snot, as it were) on my skin. I’m stuck. You know how when you were a kid and you’d cross your eyes or make a ridiculous face and your grandma or Eminem or whoever would say, “Keep making that face and it’ll get stuck like that”? Well this is one case where I kept sneezing a certain way and got stuck like that. There you have it, kids; practice proper sneezing, or you’ll wind up like me. (That’s not necessarily a threat, because as we’ll all agree, I turned out all right.)

So I sneeze.

But then I sneeze again.

And I’m on a roll, so it keeps happening.

And after every sneeze, I groan. At this rate it’s basically a part of the sneezing process. The “Ah…. Ah…. Hai! Sigh–UGHHHHHH.” Every time, man. I’m in the middle of trying to strategically draw on my eyelids with this crayon for adult women and this sneeze decides to barge in and derail my productivity, then invite all its friends over to have some sort of eight A.M. banger party. And my head is banging indeed.

So eventually the sneezing fit dies down. I’ve been awake for barely twenty minutes and I’m already averaging one sneeze per minute. Can we de-congest the snot traffic jam happening in my nose please?

I blow my nose after the sneezes, because sneezing the way I do is entirely pointless, because all that happens is that I make my neck sore–you know, because nothing comes out when I sneeze. So I always blow my nose afterwards (because I only expel snot on my terms, not my body’s terms) in order to clear it all out. But half the time there’s nothing there I’m working with. No mucus? So why on God’s budding-green Earth am I sneezing so much? Answer:


That’s fun. From my understanding, allergies exist to punish you for being a healthy body. Your immune system is so reputable, so buff, so ambitious, that it tricks itself into thinking you’re sick when you’re not, and so your body (stupid body) reacts rather dramatically to effectively nothing at all but some measly harmless pollen. Cute.

I finally wiggle my nose hard enough to fight off the next creeping sneeze. I manage to make a little headway in my morning preparations. Very good. I forget about sneezing, about allergies.

Whoop, there it is: another sneeze.

A moment of recovery.

A sneezing fit.

“AGHHHHH!” I cry to the god of pollen. “I AM NO MATCH FOR THESE SNEEZES!” I can handle braces, the removal of my wisdom teeth, stitches on my forehead when I was three, having a car trunk slammed on my hand, cavities being filled (is it any wonder teeth accidents freak me out so much? I’ve been traumatized). I can endure boring college lectures (barely), running, working 56+ hours a week wearing Chuck Taylors that offer less foot support than just being barefoot, -10 degree windy walks across campus, years of standardized testing. I’ve made it through high school, driver’s ed, the Bush administration, almost drowning, almost getting taken out by moving vehicles a number of times, my emo phase, the “U mad bro?” meme. I mean, I’ve put up with some serious shit in my life. But I cannot continue along this sneezing path.

Eventually the allergy tablet kicks in and the sneezing subsides for the most part, and then I can be a functioning (or semi-functioning) human being for another 24 hours. I can read again, surf Facebook again, ignore paper proposals again… It’s great to have medication that subverts allergies. Especially since this time of year, I like to be outside as much as possible, to happily soak up all the warm sunshine to make up for the total lack of heat I’ve experienced the past seven months.

And so the fun part is that I just realized I took my last allergy tablet this morning.

Wish me luck tomorrow, folks. (Ah… Ah…. Hai!)


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