Like a fogging machine and 80’s glam-rock, so goes spring and allergens. Billions of florescent-green spores can make this time of year miserable. Persistent sneezing leads to a runny nose; itchy eyes turn red; and one's head feels as heavy as a dinosaur's. My father’s battle with hay fever taught me early-on to appreciate my resilience to pollen and macrospores. Certain social situations, however, presented a greater challenge than just avoiding the lawn.
As our sensitivities broaden, specific foods, particular activities, and people, demonstrate that the body—or mind—is capable of rejecting almost anything. In a vast arena of possible allergens, accurately identifying one can be more trouble than it’s worth. The banana, according to Dr. Meyers, for example, can take over three months to nail down as an offender.
A recent business layover in Phoenix provided more than a stuffy nose. Irritability, anxiety, claustrophobia, and an unshakable urge to harm the locals manifested immediately upon arrival. Can overexposure—like excessive consumption of dairy, or wheat—degrade our immunity? If so, then perhaps this also explains my aversion to cell phones, email, television, and—frequently—my own writing.
I began to question the placement of blame when, in the safety and air-conditioned comfort of the company vehicle, the beauty of the landscape, however faint, lightened the angst. When allowed suitable space—to breath, I was able to appreciate the conveniences of a big city. I found peace in the absence of people. Perhaps Phoenix was not the allergen, but the people in it.
So, Dr. Meyers, how long does it take to test people as allergens? Or do we just develop a new perspective, realizing that we can not live without them—no matter how hideous the rash? If only we could make them taste like bananas, maybe, then, it would be more palatable.