My allergies have been killing me for the last two days. I’m not sure why–something to do with the furnace running, I imagine, kicking up dust and sending me into a frenzy of snorfling. Allegra doesn’t stop it. At last, in despair, I picked up a couple of face masks and have been wearing them around the house. This seems to help.

It’s somewhat problematic, however, because I keep forgetting it’s there and whanging my coffee cup into it.

And then there’s my eyes. The allergies and the extreme dryness of the winter air have conspired to turn my eyeballs to curry. They burn. The face mask doesn’t help there, because air escaping the mask is forced to flow up the sides of my nose, past my tormented eyes. The end result is that I am as grimly red-eyed as I ever was during my stoner youth. If this continues, I will have to get eye drops, and believe me, there are few things in this world that I hate more than dropping stuff into my eyes. My blink reflex is muscular and firmly intact. At the first blurry sign of something enroute, the lids close up like Fort Knox. (James, sufferer of poor vision and contact wearer for many years, wouldn’t blink if you jammed a sharpened stick in his eye, of course. It’s a good thing he wears glasses–they serve as protective goggles against a cruel eye-poking world.)

So yesterday, the Fed Ex guy tromped up to my door with a package from my father, something from an optics place, as my father’s gifts this year are birdwatching related. The doorbell rang. I was taking a nap, but of course the doorbell caused me to levitate from the couch, rush to the door, and fling it open.

Wild-haired, scarlet-eyed, wearing a face mask–the FedEx guy probably thought he’d accidentally disturbed the Surgeon From The Black Lagoon. He certainly fled quickly. But then again, I assume home delivery people are used to seeing a cross-section of humanity at their most vulnerable and bizarre, so I didn’t worry about it much.

I am jazzed about the birdwatching equipment. One of the items still en route is a bit of family history, a monocular owned by my grandfather, who won it in a poker game while working in Alaska. (I don’t know where in Alaska, or under what circumstances, but I am imagining a smoky bar in the Yukon, sort’ve Arctic Old West style, with parka-clad floozies, a piano playing ragtime and gimlet-eyed men stomping in from the outside, kicking snow from their boots, and inquiring in a hard drawl “That yer dogsled out there, pardner?” This is almost certainly not how it happened, but I can dream, damnit.)

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