Gesundheit

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Tis the season to own a car wash.
A sure sign of Spring on Long Island, along with the tulips and sprouting buds on the trees, is the thin layer of pollen dust everywhere. Trees, flowers, grasses and weeds are producing pollen during May to fertilize. Of course, pollen dust and humans don’t necessarily get along.

Following the feeding patterns of mosquitoes, the pollen count is highest in the early morning and early evening. Either way, the resulting yellow dust is everywhere right now. As tempting as it is to open windows, letting the breeze in, don’t do it. That yellow menace will drift inside and settle into your carpet and on your furniture.
Pollen dust doesn’t just sneak into your house through the windows. It attaches itself to you. After a morning shower, your nice clean body is a magnet for pollen during the day, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. A shower before bed is a necessity to clear that nasty yellow dust.

If you thought global warming was a problem with just the ozone layer, think again. Last summer, New York City’s climate classification was officially changed from “Continental Subtropical” to “Humid Subtropical.” For those of you with central air conditioning, you might not have noticed we had warmer than average temperatures last year.

That means more species of plants can grow here, sprouting earlier and lasting longer. More plants mean more pollen.
So, where does that leave humans?
For one thing, thanks to the pandemic, more and more of us are working from home. We’re not out and about early in the morning anymore. Unless you walk the dog every day, you’ve had limited exposure to the yellow menace without even realizing it. Of course, I can’t say the same for your car.

My black GMC Terrain was covered in yellow dust. The windshield had so much pollen on it, I needed a dry swipe with my wipers to remove the top layer before using the squirty to wash the rest away. I hate to waste one of my car wash coupons I got for Christmas when the car will look the same tomorrow. I can’t even clean it myself because I haven’t gotten the hoses out of the shed yet.

Anybody know a good rain dance?
You know that brand new screen house I told you about a few weeks ago? Apparently, pollen is smaller than mosquitoes and has begun accumulating inside, like a dusting of snow. Too bad I just put the snowblower away.
How is it possible that something so vital to the planet’s survival is so bad for humans?

There is only one thing worse than dealing with pollen dust this time of year. It’s what I call the “squigglies,” those little squiggly things that fall from the trees and attach themselves to everything. They accumulate and form small tumbleweeds that blow everywhere and clog your gutters. Not only that, when they get wet, they leave brown stains everywhere. Soon my backyard is going to look like a deserted town in an old Western.

I think I missed most of the mess last year as we were sheltering in place and afraid to even go outside. When we did venture out, we were so happy to be outside we may not have noticed.

Fortunately, as far as we know, plants are immune from the pandemic. They are doing all the things that plants tend to do at this time of year. For us humans, we’ll just deal with it like we always do. Sneezing is part of the Circle of Life in the Spring. Plants pollinate, and we sneeze. Seems like a fair tradeoff since plants provide us with the oxygen we need to survive.
Let’s raise our Flonase to the sky and toast the annual rite of spring.
Gesundheit, my friends.

Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.

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