First it’s an itch.
I rub my eyes.
The itching goes on.
Now my nose is itching. And it’s harder to breathe. Oh man. I need a fix. I need it BAD. The itching, the scratching, the sniffling.
I really need a fix.
No. Not yet. It’s only been 23 hours since my last dose.
This is the 23rd Hour. The final hour before I can take my Claritin. This is allergy hell.
|Is this flower trying to kill me?|
Our nation’s Capitol is, and I believe this is a technical term, a pollen pit in the spring. Why? Because it is built in a swamp. You’re probably wondering what geniuses decided that building a city in the middle of a swamp was a good idea. Apparently, it was George Washington at the urging of James Madison, who was upset that Members of Congress, when they were doing their business in Philadelphia, had been attacked by an angry mob. This foreshadowed, I believe, the day when Philadelphians would throw snowballs at Santa Claus during halftime of an Eagles game. City of Brotherly Love, indeed.
So between the mobs in Philly and the need to put the Capitol in the South because of deals involving the payment of war debt, George Washington and others decided that the new federal city should sit on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, east of the settlement of Georgetown (which is now known as the swanky, high-priced neighborhood of Georgetown, home to shops, eateries, a top-notch university but no metro stop and practically no parking.). Two rivers, a warm climate, what could be bad?
The pollen, that’s what bad. You ever wonder why Congress takes a two week vacation around Easter every year? It’s not devotion to faith. It’s a desire to breathe deeply and that cannot be done in a city whose air is so clogged with pollen that everyone here runs around with itchy eyes and packs of tissues in their pockets. As I write this, I’m in the evil 23rd Hour and I can’t stop blinking at the screen in an attempt to clear the tears brought on by my scratchy-feeling eyes. I look like a beauty queen being asked a question that can’t be answered by chirping “World peace!”.
The sad end result of the pollen is that spending time outdoors in the spring is painful, even when the weather is otherwise glorious. It’s like we must be punished for having clear, 70 degree days, with a light breeze. A breeze that swirls pollen around and leaves a fine coating of yellow scum on cars. It’s so gross.
The good news is the fertile season for the flora is short and by May, it’s possible to breathe again. But by then the pollen will be replaced by the other Scourge of the Swamp: Mosquitos the Size of Vespas.
Don’t get me wrong. I heart DC. But sometimes I don’t know why.