Thursday, April 14, 2011

The allergy sufferer's anxiety at the graduation ceremony

Lately my rhinitis has been bad enough that I've resorted to just sticking a tissue up my nose and walking around the house that way.* It keeps my hands free, which is nice, but it's starting to become a habit, and I sometimes have to remind myself not to do it in public.

I'm mostly at peace with the fact that I'm going to spend the next sixty years constantly blowing my nose, but that doesn't mean it isn't a bit depressing. I'm the person people say "bless you" to eight times before they realize the sneezing isn't going to stop so they drop the charade of caring already. I'm the person in the theatre or lecture hall that's blowing their nose so violently no one can hear what's being said. I'm the person everyone assumes is sick, and they judge me for coming out in public and making other people sick, even though what I've got isn't catching.

I know I'm that person, and I've come to terms with it, but I just this morning realized that next week I have to sit through my graduation ceremony, and depending on how much dust there is and whether or not the girl sitting next to me happens to be wearing perfume, I may go through upwards of 50 Kleenexes in the space of two hours.

Do I bring an entire box with me? Where am I going to put them all once I've used them? Should I arrange to have a small trash can placed under my seat? We don't have assigned seats. I'll have to carry it on stage myself. Am I bold enough to take the stage carrying a small lined trash can and an entire box of Kleenex? That's pretty bold. Why not just bring an ottoman and make myself at home?

And when we get up to receive our diplomas, we're not supposed to take anything with us. Surely I can conceal one or two tissues in my left hand? I don't need my left hand for anything, do I? Or is that the hand I take the diploma with while I shake the Dean's right hand? Maybe I can rubber band them to my wrist. How long are the sleeves on my robe?

And on and on it goes. Maybe instead of worrying about it I should just embrace it already and bring a gigantic red and white spotted clown hanky that I can blow my nose into as ostentatiously as possible.

In short, I have no idea how I'm going to get through two hours without making a spectacle of myself.

*I have a tissue crammed up my nose right now. It's bliss.