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Opinion: New ailments kick in as fall allergy season winds down

By June Mathews

Of a Certain Age

The fall allergy season is still with us and I, for one, am ready for it to go away. I suspect I’m not alone in that sentiment. Since it’s late in the season and the recent rains have helped keep pollen from flying around unchecked, my symptoms are mild compared to other years – and I’m thankful for that – but I’d rather do without them altogether.

Demon ragweed has been the bane of my existence for many a fall now, and unless I resort to the daily allergy medications (which stop the sniffles but don’t agree with me otherwise), I might as well attach myself to a tissue box and resign myself to a red, runny nose for the duration.

Or perhaps I could live in one of those plastic bubbles for two or three months of the year, which seems oddly appealing at not only the height of allergy season but after rough days at the office, or when reading a good book or watching the finale of Dancing With the Stars, and the phone keeps ringing or the husband and/or dogs are demanding food and/or attention.

Honestly, though, I can’t blame ragweed for all my problems. I’m allergic to other things, too.

Just the sight of a vacuum cleaner, for example, makes me downright ill. I won’t go so far as to say I’m allergic to all housework, although it often appears that way. But any affinity I may otherwise have developed for vacuuming was doomed from the moment my mother began insisting that I finish my Saturday chores before any trips to the mall or other outings with friends. And dragging that infernal Filter Queen canister with the unwieldy hose all over the house was my responsibility.

Yeah, I know it’s been 40-plus years ago, but it left a lasting impression. Even these many decades later, the memory of all that mandatory vacuuming renders me useless when faced with the chore in my own home. But fortunately, Jimmie feels sorry enough for me to do the vacuuming himself. Or maybe he just knows that’s the only way it’ll get done. Either reason is fine with me.

Another thing I’m allergic to is heavy traffic. Since my current commute is an easy five-minute drive through mostly residential neighborhoods, I’ve become unused to driving on crowded interstates and busy secondary highways.

Now people complain like the dickens about traffic in Trussville, but things could certainly be worse. Case in point: I had a meeting at an office on Highway 280 last week, and somewhere between I- 459 and Grandview (less than a mile), I began to doubt I’d ever get there. I was convinced I’d waste away right there behind the steering wheel, eternally stuck in the center lane, unable to budge for the jam of vehicles surrounding mine.

Another mile or so down the road, the clotted mass of cars miraculously broke apart, and traffic finally began to move, if still on the slow side. I was a few minutes late to my meeting, but any dismay I probably should have felt was lost in my relief to be out of the fray. To avoid a similar return trip – and to keep from provoking my traffic allergy twice in one day – I took the backroads home.

The last of my allergies – or at least the last one I’m going to share – is my allergy to turnip greens. They’re gross, they’re slimy, they smell bad, and I can’t tolerate the taste. Okay, so maybe I just hate turnip greens, which technically isn’t an allergy. But if I could conjure up some hives or at least a convincing sneeze or two the next time Mama cooks them, maybe she’ll stop trying to get me to eat them, as she’s been doing for 50 years or more.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my actual allergy is kicking up again, and my tissue box has disappeared. I sincerely hope we’ll all be on the other side of allergy season real soon. In the meantime, though, let me offer this not-so-pleasant reminder: It ends just in time for flu season.
Email June Mathews at junebugwrites@gmail.com.

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