I have not lived here on the North Shore very long, but I have lived here long enough to know that “pollen season” happens every year at about this time.
Perhaps I don’t have enough experience to know whether this year’s pollen season has been particularly heavy, but I believe a few basic observations are in order.
Kindly consider the following evidence, indicating, I believe, that this year’s pollen season has been, if not apocalyptic, then at the very least supremely maddening:
- People are sneezing more. Granules of pollen get in our noses, which is irritating. But small animals, with much smaller nostrils, don’t sneeze as much. This is because, after inhaling about 14 granules of pollen, they suffocate and crawl under your wheelbarrow behind the garage and die. During pollen season, it’s important to catch your on-site fox, woodchuck, fisher cat, or coyote on the first or second sneeze, and rush them indoors, and into an oxygen tent.
- The weather is lovely, so we can have drinks outdoors, but regardless of what you order, you get a dirty martini. My eldest daughter, who lives well out of range of Massachusetts pollen, reports that dirty martinis are far superior with olive juice instead of pollen. She’s texting, not FaceTiming, so I can’t tell if she’s snickering.
- There’s a meadow behind our house. The dragonflies that dart and dive and delight themselves there? They always had big bulging eyes, of course — but now they’re wearing goggles. Tiny, tiny goggles — but goggles. With windshield wipers.
- As a North Shore resident, you already know that during certain times of the year, we get fog approaching Marini’s Farm, in Ipswich. But these days, when you’re driving down Linebrook Road, approaching Marini’s, if it looks like fog, but the weather is totally wrong for fog, you can turn on your fog lamps, and yeah, it’s totally fog.
- The dragonfly-goggle windshield wipers are largely ineffective because the pollen is so thick. Dragonflies are crashing so frequently, insect emergency services agencies are overwhelmed.
- Yesterday morning, our screen porch was covered in something that looked like dust. That afternoon, my wife muttered “Pollen!” and got out the vacuum sweeper. By evening, she had diligently restored every square inch of the porch to its original pristine condition. This morning, I had a terrible case of déjà vu.
- I saw a backyard deer spit stuff back out. And she had some awful yellow junk caked all around her mouth.
- Pollen falls early. Jetties in Ipswich has always been open at 5 a.m., but now customers arriving at 7 a.m. or later are advised to stomp their feet at the door. (As you do, I advise that you cover your face with a handkerchief.)
- I’m fortunate enough to work at home, on my laptop; and in fair weather, I love to work outdoors. I can no longer take a bathroom break, however, because by the time I return to my worksite on the backyard bench, my laptop has to be excavated like a scene from Indiana Jones.
- It’s outrageous, I know, but North Shore doctors are actually demanding a surcharge for treating respiratory emergencies. Okay, just kidding. But one nurse I know is taking bribes for oxygen masks.
- Willie Whitmore took over as chair of the Ipswich Select Board and then promptly disappeared into a puff of yellow smoke (prompting newly named vice-chair Linda Alexson to exclaim, “See? I’m NOTthe wicked witch!”).
- Hikers got lost in Bradley Palmer and couldn’t find their way out by following their own footprints because the pollen filled them in so quickly. Rescue operations were complicated by clouds of pollen fooling the GPS. The hikers were finally saved by two aged Yetis who have lived here for years and knew the way out by “feel” rather than sight. (“Only way to survive pollen season,” one of them grunted.)
- Dairy Queen customers availing themselves of the outdoor seating on High Street report everything tasting strangely organic.
- A Boxford man was hospitalized after beating his Weber grill with a blunt instrument, after wrongly mistaking it for an invading PacMan.
- My cat wasn’t yellow this morning.
Doug Brendel lives in a house that appears, at the moment, to be yellow, on outer Linebrook Road. Follow him by blowing the dust off your keyboard and clicking “Follow” here at Outsidah.com.