Kirby: Yes I'm impaired, it's allergy season
For me, the most dangerous time of the year is at hand. It's far more potentially injurious than any other time, including Christmas, Fourth of July, family reunions and Sonny's birthday.
It's allergy season. The itching started a week ago, right around the time my sinuses began functioning like a British Petroleum oil well. My eyeballs look like eggs poached in tomato sauce.
The reason it's dangerous is because it impairs me. There's no law against driving under the influence of mucus but there ought to be.
Other than the seasons, my allergies follow no particular pattern. I've wheezed and sneezed in every part of the U.S., five other countries, two hemispheres and four of the seven seas. I'd get hay fever in space.
I have no idea if other creatures have allergies. I've never seen a sneezing snake or a whale with post-nasal drip. I've certainly never watched an ape try to scratch its own face off with a garden rake.
Another thing I'm not sure of is exactly what I'm allergic to. I only know that sometime after the middle of August my face slams shut and doesn't open again until the first freeze.
It might be sagebrush. It could also be greasewood, ragweed, cocklebur, pigweed, tumbleweed and timothy. I don't have a last name on Timothy, so I'm not sure which one I'm allergic to. Maybe it's all of them.
It could also be mold, though I rather doubt it. I've eaten lots of stuff with mold on it before and haven't so much as sneezed.
Also, since it comes around the same time every year, it's probably not a food allergy. I eat the same stuff year-round: everything.
Over the years I have identified a few things that make me choke and wheeze. One of them is the laundry detergent aisle in a grocery store. Whatever is in that stuff was probably used in France during World War I.
Women's perfume or hair spray sometimes gets to me. I don't know which one, though. I'll just pass a gal and get a whiff of something so raw and overpowering that it could only be "Kardashian Underarm" or "Jersey Shoulders."
I'm also allergic to weed. Marijuana. This was a major bummer during my teenage years. If I was even in the room after a joint was passed around, my face started to itch.
As unsettling as this was back in high school, it came in handy later when I became a cop. Hell, I'm lucky I didn't end up wearing a collar and a leash out at the airport.
Note: For a while I thought I was allergic to hallucinogens but it turned out that it was all just in my mind.
I've tried all the pills and potions offered to alleviate the symptoms of my allergies. Some medications will knock them back but it never goes away completely. I end up having to choose between being a medicated zombie or dragging around a handkerchief the size of a bed sheet.
For the next few months, please excuse the sneezing, coughing and smeared copy. I'm doing the best I can.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.