True story: Caroline and I almost didn’t date at all due to allergies.
I’ve had allergies all my life. No known food allergies, but really annoying hay fever that causes stuffiness and watery eyes. I remember “crying” in second-grade art class due to the allergies…I think that’s when I learned that girls respond to sentimental guys, thus laying the foundation for the rest of my life.
I’ve also been allergic to cats and dogs for most of my life. Particularly wet dogs, which just plain stink.
Anyway, when Caroline and I started to get to know each other, she invited me to a Christmas party she and her roommate were hosting for a bunch of friends. Her cat hung out under the real Christmas tree they had set up, watching the lights sparkle against the carpet.
It was a fun gathering, but my allergies were killing me. I was red and puffy and tearing up. No amount of alcohol could ward away the symptoms. Caroline’s cat wasn’t even that close to where we were hanging out, but her fur and dander must have been everywhere. So around midnight I excused myself and went home.
As I’ve since told Caroline, I seriously contemplated the implications of dating a woman who possessed an animal that would invoke such physical discomfort in me. I trust Claritin, but could it stand up against a cat so powerful? My allergies hadn’t acted up to that extent in a long time.
Fortunately, the true source of the allergies was revealed a few days later. Caroline’s ex-roommate, who was also quite allergic to various things, had a really strong reaction while she was taking the tree out to the trash. Apparently it had been releasing some powerful spores. I visited Caroline’s apartment after everything had been vacuumed, and my allergies were nonexistent. Catface proved innocent, I went on to date Caroline without a hitch.
However, this whole story is quite ironic, because Caroline doesn’t believe in allergies. Yeah, let me say that again. The girl does not believe in allergies. She thinks allergies are psychological; she thinks people who have allergies are too weak-minded to fend them off.
The even greater irony of this whole situation is that Caroline has allergies. She just refuses to admit it. Given, her allergies are mild, but still, when you’re stuffy on a humid spring day with pollen all around, it’s not a cold, Sherlock. Today, for example, Caroline incessantly complained about stuffiness and congestion and a drippy nose. It’s your allergies, I told her, and offered to get her some Sudafed (I was out of Claritin). She refused, mumbling something about not wanting to feel like she was on an airplane. I pointed out that the symptoms eased by Sudafed were her exact symptoms, but that wasn’t good enough.
Later in the evening, we went to the grocery store (Caroline saw an episode of 30 Rock where Jack ate jelly beans, and she immediately had to consume Jelly Bellies. That’s fodder for another Vault). We happened to pass by the medicinal aisle, and I told Caroline that she should pick up some Claritin. She hesitated, as if to consider the idea, but I think she was probably just singing a song from Evita in her head. She rejected the idea, saying she’d play through the pain.
Congratulations, Caroline. Despite a simple, available remedy, you choose to suffer through sinus pain. Well done.