Fist-Fighting With Simians In My Own Back Yard

When I was a kid, I didn’t have seasonal allergies. The only allergy I had was to shellfish, and by the time I’d reached five years old, I’d become so disgusted by the thought of eating anything that might make me throw up that I wasn’t even tempted to try it. My father, however, had severe hay fever, and I watched him suffer through it every year with mild amusement. As soon as the trees turned green, it would start: the runny, watery eyes, the sniffling, the sonic-boom sneezes, the perpetual scolding every time one of my stuffed animals came anywhere near his face.

I remember laughing every time my father sneezed, because when a man so large expels air in such a forceful and sudden manner, it shakes the floor and sends every animal within a ten-foot radius diving for cover. He’d wheeze for a moment before every explosion, as though he were gathering the sneeze’s full intensity within him before he could let it out, then when he finally let loose the sneeze would be so gargantuan that one wouldn’t have been entirely surprised to see a Volkswagen come leaping from his throat.

I laughed then—but payback, as they say, is a bitch–and apparently, so is Mother Nature. For the first few weeks of “pollen season,” I have been in Boston, where the volume of trees and foliage is significantly less per capita than on Martha’s Vineyard, where I grew up. I live on a street that has more cement than it does trees, so I had forgotten about what a mother the Mother could be.

The first time I experienced seasonal allergies, or what I have come to refer to as the Unbearable Pollen Ick, I was in my early twenties. Having never before been allergic to shrubbery, I thought I was getting sick. I bust be gettig da flu, I said, blowing out my innards into a million tissues. I dote doe whut dis is, bud it sucks. I sneezed uncontrollably, my eyes watered, I felt like I had a Batman mask of lead covering the top of my face. My sister, a lifelong allergy sufferer, took one look at me and said something along the lines of Welcome to the club; it’s about time.

Yesterday, back on the Vineyard for a few days’ R & R, I went to a friend’s house for a few hours to sit around, listen to music and get stoned. While we were sitting in my friend’s back yard, Mother Nature took it upon herself to launch a full-on assault on my face–with a seemingly endless supply of little green armies.

My friend pointed out the haze of pollen falling from the trees, illuminated by the setting sun so that it almost sparkled. Oh, fuck, I thought. Here it comes. There was a parked car under a carport-like overhang, and I saw that its hood was covered in an opaque layer of lime green fuzz, like it had grown a thin layer of green fur. Within half an hour, I could feel the pressure building beneath my eyes, and within an hour, I’d let out a scattered batch of my own miniature sonic-boom sneezes (just as startling as Dad’s, but not as growly). By the time I left my friend’s house, I could feel the tell-tale river of ooze going down the back of my throat.

This morning I woke up feeling like I’d been sucker-punched in the head by a 500 pound Gorilla. Mama may be pretty, but she packs a serious wallop.

Of course, the great irony of this situation is that the pollen is everywhere because the plants are happy because we in New England have just come out of a week-long monsoon. So the Ick that I hate so much is a direct result of the rain that I love so much. More proof that nonexistent representational deities have a sense of humor, too.

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~ by saltgirlspeaks on 9 June, 2007.

2 Responses to “Fist-Fighting With Simians In My Own Back Yard”

  1. […] I didn’t notice the bite at first. My hand itched at some point, and when I scratched it, it hurt–and I noticed that the area around my pinky knuckle was swollen and blue-ish. I immediately iced it, as it appeared to be swelling fast. I was reassured by the fact that I could still make a fist, and that the feeling in my hand was intact–also, there wasn’t any local hotness, just dull pain and and ever-growing black and blue mark. Truth be told, it looked like I’d punched a fence-post. Or a gorilla. […]

  2. what a mother the Mother could be.

    Very nice indeed.

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