Waveny Park’s beauty taunts me as I drive by it on my way to…everything. It beckons me. Waveny’s come-hither allure is almost too much to bear for both an avid jogger and a victim of severe seasonal allergies. I indulge in the trails cautiously, as I am bogged down with both pollen-phobia and an irrational fear of forest creatures. But every now and again, one must throw caution to the histamine and decide to embrace the uncertainty of nature—and a possible encounter with the unknown.
Now that the sun shines with more frequency and the temps are rising, I find myself eager to open my super filthy windows and embrace New Canaan’s great outdoors. That is, before I am forced back indoors to hide from pollen and my personal inner sanctum of hell that is seasonal allergies.
There is a narrow window between winter and spring—I think it’s called ‘sprinter’—when it is safe for me to exuberantly breathe in fresh air without having to delve into my treasure trove of allergy meds. I admit, it’s wonderful to inhale fresh air and feel invigorated—especially when I recognize that it is a gift and a fleeting opportunity to be one with nature, versus one against nature, which happens to me for the entire month of May.
During this narrow space in time when I am free to openly frolic, I look forward to my fair weather jogs through Waveny. My initial jaunts are typically painful, pathetic attempts to work off my winter chub. But once that extra layer of goodness starts to dissipate and my breathing becomes less labored, I inhabit my happy place.
My happy place is when I find my stride and I can forget how painful it is to cart my body around at high speeds. I then allow my thoughts to run wild. It’s meditative when I can disassociate myself from the act of jogging and begin to contemplate life, my existence, what’s for dinner, and inevitably, what’s lurking in the woods. Yup, my imagination knows no bounds, so I conjure up likely scenarios that could arise in the woods.
With recent sightings of bears, coyotes and mountain lions, I find myself on high alert. Sometimes, I run in a dreamlike state fantasizing about being cornered by a ferocious beast and fending it off like a ‘roid-fueled MMA champ. It is a major concern of mine that should a friend innocently tap me on the shoulder while jogging, I will instinctively decapitate her with a roundhouse kick to the head. So, please, people, do not approach me in Waveny while I am running. You won’t live to regret it.
Usually, just as I begin to chisel away at my Spongebob winter physique with some outdoor activity, the newly verdant trees slowly but steadily start to torment me by covering everything with a thick fluorescent green sweater of pollen. That’s when I retreat. This ‘green’ does not mean “Go.” I return to hibernation mode because I know that I am no match for Mother Nature, so wonderful and yet so cruel. All of my windows come crashing down. The A/C gets turned up and I start to partially die.
During most of May, I will dope myself up with allergy meds, inhalers, nasal sprays and eye drops—just to function at 50 percent capacity. It gets so bad that I usually have to hit up the pharmacist for the hardcore, behind the counter, methy-kind of meds. You know, the ones for which you have to present your license. During my seasonal allergy war, it does not concern me that the government is tracking my pharmacological use and its frequency. I have nothing to hide other than the puffy, dark bags under my bloodshot, pollen-ridden eyes.
While I am a vision of puffiness and the one and only Pollen Goddess, I do warn my inner circle that at any point in time during allergy season I could fall asleep anywhere and at anytime, which would make me an easy target for roaming wildlife. Additionally, I ask that I am not held accountable for any bad decisions, vile behavior, or lack of enthusiasm/joie de vivre. My immune system is so overloaded that I simply cannot function in an alert state. And it makes parenting…awesome! Between wanting to gouge my eyes out with a fork and guzzle battery acid to stop the itching in my throat, it is hard to be a kind, caring, wakeful human being.
So, if you need anything from me between May 1 and 31, you are big-time out of luck. And should I drop my license somewhere in town, please return it to the Pine Street Walgreen’s, where they will need to check it when I shop for my meth-y, high potency allergy meds. Lastly, lurking wild animals, if you’re out there in the woods, please take it easy on me, I am at 50 percent at best.