Saturday, October 01, 2005

My Favorite Month Arrives to a Chorus of Sneezing

October begins today under blue skies and with gentle breezes wafting through my window. I have waited so long for its arrival. Fall begins in September, true, but you can still get 85ยบ weather for that last week. With October, you know your odds of a cool morning walk to work, or a crisp afternoon adventure on a weekend, are greater.

I had planned to celebrate the arrival of October in this journal last night after work, but my allergies went absolutely crazy during the day. September in these here parts was unnaturally dry, bordering on drought conditions. The goldenrod that ordinarily would have bloomed earlier in the month was therefore held in abeyance. Only in the last 10 days or so have we had good, drenching rain that helped the fall vegetation finish its flowering cycle . . . and with it, the release of the sort of pollen that was supposed to have hit me mid-month.

I knew it was only a matter of time, but I've been sleeping with the windows open nonetheless to give my air conditioner — and my bank account — a rest. On Wednesday, I brought a new box of tissues to work because I was definitely sneezing more. At my worst, I have blown through a half box in a day. I figured I would get hit even harder at my current workplace this season, because — unlike the hermetically sealed office tower that was our former home in Midtown — this office dates from the 1930s, when windows were built to open. So I figured I would be awash in allergens.

D-Day turned out to be Thursday, and I had the unfortunate role as Normandy. I buttressed the beachhead with Claritin and nasal spray, but these defenses were quickly overwhelmed. Reserves in the form of a second Claritin in the evening bought me some time against the invaders, but as the evening wore on — even though I was hiding in a closed, air-conditioned basement for poker night — the inexorable advance of the goldenrod pollen broke through all resistance and established firm encampments across a wide front.

By Friday I was a mess. I had to go into work to get a my 1-day turnaround publication on press. Also, I had heard rumblings from my boss about too little work being assigned to too many people (of which more later), so I felt it was necessary to be present and accounted for. This was no easy task. I was a mess. I put some serious hurt on my tissue box, and I could barely go five minutes without blowing or sneezing or coughing. I have no respect for people who come to work ill because of some misplaced sense of duty (which results in all those around them getting sick and damaging schedules far more than just one person taking a sick day would have), but I assured folks it was just allergies, and that they were in no danger unless they got between me and my remaining Puffs Plus.

I finally bailed a half hour early. I was very tired by this point, having lost sleep the previous night to the allergies on top of an already later-than-usual bedtime due to poker night. I had tried to stay hydrated, what with the flow being constant, to put it delicately, but I just couldn't keep up and I was feeling groggy as a result. So I got my ass to the train station through the treasonously allergen-laden fall afternoon, and by 6:30 I was cranking the damned air conditioner up to blow in only filtered air as I curled up on the couch with pizza and antihistamines.

I woke up today at 10:30. Two days of fighting allergies full on knocked the shit out of me. I do need to get out there to perform various chores, and for the simple reason that it is gorgeous, but I am not looking forward to a third day of wrestling with a nose running like a garden hose all day. Needless to say, I skipped the gym for the past two days, so I feel weaker than usual, but a good hour there is part of today's plan. Early Saturday afternoons there are fairly depopulated, and what with two late nights in two days, I can stay up to about 11:00 tonight and enjoy the weather as this beautiful sky fades into twilight and sexy black.

All right. If I can breathe straight when I return, I'll offer up some more. If not, I will deliver an analytical review of exactly why my current allergic frenzy represents a lucrative opportunity to invest in paper companies that produce tissues. Retire early on my mucus.

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