Allergy attack at the county Hall of Records

Today did not live up to my hopes and dreams.

Sung and I went on a date to the county seat. This was a new area for him, and I hadn’t been there in years. So we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous spring weather and do some exploring with Lotus.

I couldn’t wait to show Sung my favorite hike in the county. Waterfalls and panoramic views, plus the promise (this week only) of a stunning wildflower display. But the first item on our agenda: visiting the Hall of Records. We walked into the impressive new building hand-in-hand and waited in line, six feet apart from everyone else.

Why the field trip to a government building? To get our marriage license! I’ve called Sung my husband for a while now, but of course it feels like a big deal to begin the process of making our relationship legally official.

We drove around the little town for a while, pretty giddy with happiness. Around here, April is the prime month for outdoor beauty. These are the rare days when the rolling hills trade their blanket of dry beige grass for a coat as green as the Windows XP screensaver.

To my dismay, however, I have become allergic to spring’s beauty. I’ve developed a terrible reaction to everything that blooms. Despite being born and raised in Northern California, hay fever has hit me like a bag of bricks ever since I moved back up here after living in LA for the past five years. And today was the worst day yet.

After my 17th sneeze Sung said, “it’s ok, let’s forget the hike and go home!” I insisted we at least visit this cool park next to the river which runs through town. Lotus scampered along the trails and Sung was excited to do some rock climbing. But I was miserable. The purple and yellow wildflowers seemed to mock my respiratory distress as I sneezed and snuffled my way back to Sung’s truck.

I shriveled up in the passenger seat, bracing my body between skull-shattering sneezes. No seriously, these were not regular sneezes. Each one felt like an attempt to turn my lungs inside out. My eyes were itchy and beginning to swell shut. My chest ached with each breath. I clung to the last square of toilet paper on the roll, the pathetic tissue paper no match for my dripping nose. Yuck.

Then it got worse. As we drove out of the park, a truck blew the stop sign and turned right into us. Sung had the presence of mind to speed up so at least we didn’t get hit too hard. But we still got hit. I immediately started bawling like a child. Luckily, the damage was minimal.

The accident could have been much worse but I didn’t take even one moment to pause and be thankful. I was too distracted by my physical discomfort, and even more wrapped up in negative thoughts and disappointment from my unmet expectations for the day.

I sprinted to the medicine cabinet as soon as we got home. After a Benadryl and a shower, my body calmed down. But my mood was still poop when I started typing this blog post. It took some reflection for me to gain a different perspective. So what if today wasn’t the perfect getting-marriage-license day I had imagined? At least it was memorable.

When I look back at this day through rose-colored glasses a couple decades from now, I think I will feel nothing but gratitude for the past that is now my present.

And today taught me two things I hope to remember:

  1. Don’t cling so hard to expectations. Refusing to accept the present moment because I had a different plan in mind only seems to multiply my suffering.

  2. Never leave home during allergy season without a Benadryl in my back pocket!

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