I have a superpower. I can take ordinary grocery items, like lettuce and milk and Little Debbie Snack Cakes, and turn them into pounds and pounds of pollen-induced mucus. I can do this without, apparently, expending a single calorie. It is the one thing at which my body is remarkably efficient. I do this at such a rapid rate that I can go through an entire box of tissues in a day. If it were somehow a cash crop, I would be a millionaire.
The constant sniffling makes everyone ask if I’m crying. Which I sort of am – there is extra fluid in my eyes in my body’s attempt to wash the invaders free.
Few things are as physically beautiful as spring in the deep south. Loud pinks and purples, buttery yellows, whites that catch the sunset, and firey reds decorate azalea bushes, dogwoods, cherry trees, redbuds, wisteria, and honeysuckle. There are flowers everywhere. The air smells like a subtle dessert. It smells like sneezing.
I made a decision years ago that the only color car I would buy was a yellowish gold. Pollen colored. Otherwise, it would be a sickly green color in the spring like everyone else’s.
People think us southerners are exaggerating when we complain about the pollen. And maybe we do, a little, but the truth is that there is so much pollen that it gathers in drifts like snow. You can scrape it off your windshield in handfuls. You can try to use your windshield wiper fluid, but probably you’ll just end up making an opaque paste and smearing it across your field of vision.
Seriously: this is a picture I took outside of my office:
Back when I wore contact lenses, I couldn’t wear them in the spring. I may as well have just stuck Velcro in my eye for all the comfort. My eyeballs felt like a hoard of miniature porcupines had taken up residency and were scratching out a place for themselves. Now that I’ve had eyeball surgery and can see unassisted, my eyes are merely red. No matter what, it looks like I’ve had a hard night of drinking behind me. When it is really bad, my lower lids look swollen and bruised, as if I’d been on the losing end of a bar fight.
We can’t eradicate pollen, and we don’t want to. Unlike mosquitoes, pollen has an actual valid purpose. Pollen is, I know, the way flowers and fruits grow. Without it, there’d be no roses, and no tomatoes. Love is, quite literally, in the air during pollen season.
But really. Can’t love get a room?
If you enjoyed this and want Lori to write for you, click on her Expert Ghost Writer page. To read more like this, visit Lori at her website, www.loriduffwrites.com , on Twitter, or on Facebook. For the Best of Lori, read her books, “Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza” and “The Armadillo, the Pickaxe, and the Laundry Basket.”
This blog originally appeared on Monroe Local News in the Spring of 2015.