November 7, 2000
Central Avenue Sneeze


I sneeze once, in the Subaru, every day on the way to work  ...  a single, dainty sneeze, somewhere between Santa Clara and Buena Vista streets. We call it my *Central Avenue Sneeze.*

It happens every morning, without fail.

David noticed this peculiar phenomenon before I did. "You must be allergic to something we drive past in the mornings," he said. Eucalyptus, maybe, or mold spores, or ragweed.

(Or maybe a patch of wild fax toner cartridges in full bloom.)

But you know what? I'm not convinced that it's allergies. We usually drive with the windows rolled up, for one thing. Our commute takes us through strictly commercial areas of Alameda and Oakland. None of my usual allergens are present: no Avon perfume, no cigarette smoke, no Eternity for Men. (And no, Cranky Denver Lady, I'm not allergic to DAVID. Sorry to disappoint.) If this were allergies, why only ONE sneeze every morning? Wouldn't I be sneezing my stoopid head off, if that were the case? And if this were an allergic reaction to something, shouldn't I be honking up phlegm like a baby honking up leftover Enfamil, instead of this polite, bone-dry little 'ker-choo' every morning?

Oh well. I guess it doesn't matter why it happens. It just happens.

It has become a morning ritual, in fact ... a daily dance between David and me. I sneeze my one tidy little sneeze. He says, "Tissue?" (He pronounces it The Fergie Way: "tissy-yoo?") I say, "No thank you, I'll just use your shirt." I pretend to wipe a snotty hand on his sleeve. He pretends to be disgusted. We laugh. Hahahahaha.

End of dance.

Yeah ... OK. We're a couple of big dorks. We know it. We're comfy in our dorkitude. We believe it's a good look for us.

The thing is, I've waited my whole life to have someone to *dance* with this way ... someone to enjoy dorky little daily rituals with like this. 

Someone to drink coffee with in the mornings, to go to the library with on Saturday afternoons, to sit in bed eating ice cream with in the evenings. 

Someone who has learned never to pick up a penny laying on the sidewalk unless it is heads-up. 

Someone who will sit next to me in an airport terminal and comb my hair with his fingers for a solid hour. 

Someone who understands why I still keep my daughter's half-empty bottle of Koala Orange-Mango Juice in the refrigerator, seven months after she left it there. 

Someone who knows that white helium balloons are the best kind of good luck, and that black helium balloons are the worst kind of bad luck, and that saying "Rabbit Rabbit" when you wake up on the first morning of the month is the best luck of all. 

Someone who laughs at my one and only joke, every time I tell it. (Why did the monkey fall out of the tree? Because it was dead.

Someone who doesn't mind if I use four out of five available screen names on the AOL account. Someone who doesn't freak out when I call him in the middle of the day and tearfully announce that I'm quitting my job again. Someone who names our television remote control "Binky." Someone who tells me stories about giant squids and glow-in-the-dark bunnies as I'm drifting off to sleep at night. Someone who stays in bed next to me while I sleep, even when he's wide awake (and itching to go out to the computer and write message board posts), just to make sure I stay "warm."

(Someone to take me to the polls after work tonight so I can vote in my first Presidential election since 1976.)

And someone to say "Tissy-yoo?" when I sneeze in the car every single morning ... for no reason at all.

two years ago: blowing chunks
one year ago: writer's crock

throw a rock