I have been sneezing non-stop for a week. If ever I doubted the state of my soul, then surely the thousand off-hand blessings have managed to sterilize it. A relative newcomer to the world of allergies, I have found myself in awe of every sniffly-nosed, red-eyed mutant who has gone before me armed with tissues and the wearying exchange of post-nasal courtesy. Bad enough, I think, to feel that tell-tale tickle behind the septum, that fuzzy foreknowledge of the involuntary act. Bad enough to find your fingers twitching for that last bit of tissue, already wadded and used to tattered remnants. Bad enough the act itself, the violent cessation of thoughtful endeavor as body and brain task themselves to the expulsion of...goo. Bad enough all that.
But that's when it starts.
The first one is a surprise. Your head hurts just a little and you're hoping you didn't just slime the paperwork you were proofing. Nor are you sure just which of your co-workers it was that said it. Your ears are feeling a little thick, a little full.
You blink, still snuffling into the least soiled corner of your wadded tissue. You look up, intending to say "thank you." But there's another voice and another blessing from over-top the cubicle wall. The words echo behind you. Snot is clinging to the tip of your nose and you feel a little bit of spray-over on your knuckle. "Thank you," you say, or you try to.
Your voice has turned strange and there's a gob of...something...in your throat. You try to cough without coughing, swallowing at the wad of what you thought you'd just sneezed out. You swipe at your nose, that pesky bit of snot, fumble through your purse in hope of a stray napkin or, needs must, a receipt. "Thank you," you say, pushing the words out to the office-at-large.
You sneeze again.
It doesn't end. One sneeze, three sneezes, a dayful of sneezes, a week. There's a blessing behind every sneeze, blessings in triplicate, in quintuplicate even. Sometimes, they'll change it up on you, a "G'bless" here and a Gesundheit there. It is, after all, a little awkward to be the fourth "bless you" in a series. Yes, kindness abounds. A thousand good wishes when all you really want to do is sniffle into your tissues and be left alone.
And here I am trying to write something. I had grand plans for what I would write. Initially, I thought my first entry for the Writers-of-Kern blog challenge and my whatever-number-this-is for ROW80, would be full of grand writerly thoughts. But all I could produce was...were sneezes.
Sometimes, the words come. Sometimes they come easily, like air into and out of my lungs. I have been consumed at times with poetry, some snippet of sound that needed to find paper. More often, words come in spurts, intermittent, labored like that same air after another aborted effort at exercise.
Today, you get sneezes. I get sneezes. So, God Bless and thank you all.
Row 80 Progress: Not worth mentioning. Today, start new.
Revised Row 80 goals: 250 words a day, Reading every day, Exercise...3 times a week.