Yesterday, we got to meet up with our most favorite New England family, the Martins. We drove out to aaaalllllmost Cape Cod (four years out here and I’ve never actually been on the Cape) to visit a cranberry harvest festival.
Here’s the thing. The bullet that I dodge in respect to spring allergies comes back to bite me in the butt during the fall (if bullets can, in fact, bite one in the butt. I think I may have mixed metaphors there). And though I hate, hate, hate taking medication of any kind, I broke on Sunday.
I think it was the fact that the first hour of our drive to the cranberry festival consisted of me trying to claw off my own face in between spastic rounds of sneezing. Probably that. But basically, I begged Ken to pull over at one of the gigantic service stations on the Mass Pike, and I bought $10 worth of gas station Benadryl and bona fide Kleenex, since the Dunkin Donuts napkins were rubbing my nose raw.
(was that enough product placement for one post?)
My misery was so great, and my determination not to let seasonal allergies ruin my life so strong, that I unwisely took not one but two Benadryl. I know, I know. What was I thinking? Let me tell you. I wasn’t thinking anything but, “Dear God, thank you for making us smart enough to invent Benadryl. Now please let this work!”
Within 20 minutes, my sneezing subsided. I no longer wanted to itch my face off. It would have been glorious…
…if I wasn’t high as a freaking kite. Two Benedryls is NOT a fun state of altered consciousness. Everything became very laborious. Moving required me to discernibly push aside air molecules. Speaking was not only epic in effort, but what came out of my mouth was unusual in content.
Even texting was problematic, as I had to admit to Colleen that I was on some really bad Benadryl trip after I accused her, a sweet, Catholic, 17 week pregnant woman of “smoking crack”.
Anyway, we got to the festival, met up with the Martins, and boarded a school bus (much to the delight of my homeschooled children, who can now cross “ride a school bus” off their bucket lists), and were driven to the cranberry bogs.
On the way, Colleen, Lotus and I were talking about cranberries. There were these odd little signs along the road to the bog that gave visitors fun facts about the fruit. Things like “Good cranberries bounce”. Things that are really weird when read through the haze of allergy medicine.
So, as I’m wont to do, I started telling a story. I love stories. They’re the best.
“Cranberries,” I told Colleen and Lotus, “are actually quite venomous. But as they ripen, the venom breaks down, leaving behind a harmless gas. That’s why they harvest the fruit by flooding the bogs- the berries that are safe to eat float to the top of the water because the venom has broken down enough for us to consume them. But there’s still residual venom that leeches into the water, and every year there’s a significant number of cranberry harvesters who suffer cranberry venom toxicity.”
|Valiant harvesters, braving possibly lethal doses of cranberry venom|
I expect them to start cracking up, right? Because it’s FUNNY! Venom? In a fruit? C’mon! That’s comedy gold.
Instead, they’re very quiet for a moment, then Colleen looks at Lotus and says, “I can never tell if your mom is joking with me, or telling the truth.” And Lotus nods at her in agreement.
“It makes school difficult,” Lotus says.
Well, of course now I have to double down on the joke, right? Because if they didn’t get it at first, then digging in will only make it funnier.
Eventually, Colleen and Lotus sort of wandered away from me, and Ken told me that sometimes, even if a joke is funny, it’s best to let it go if people don’t respond to it. I thought this advice was terrible.
But then, I saw this old couple dancing to the music of a bluegrass band that was playing next to the bog (of venomous) cranberries, and it sort of put things into perspective.
From the (venomous) cranberry festival, we went back to the Martin’s house, where I ate my weight in the lasagna Colleen had made for Phil’s birthday, and immediately felt 100% less stoned than I had since taking those stupid Benadryl. It is truly a testament to the hospitality of the Martins that they let my junkie self into their home, but they’re proper Christians, who truly love those more allergy-ridden than they are.
Then, when it was time to leave, we loaded all the kids into the car, did the traditional head count, stopped to talk to Colleen about something or other, then pulled out the driveway.
Suddenly, Ken jammed on the breaks, because there were five Martins, including a pregnant Colleen, chasing us down, wildly waving their arms at us.
Turns out that Gabriel, who had been in the van and counted, slipped out to go grab a toy, unnoticed by us, and we almost left him behind. Not willing to take on the burden of a Gabriel, the Martins flagged us down and returned him.
Hey. I wasn’t the one driving, so you can’t pin it on my tripping-on-allergy-medicine-self.
I’m sure the Martins heaved a heavy sigh of relief once all the Donaldsons were out of their sight, and then Colleen probably wisely delivered a lecture to her children on the dangers of taking two Benadryl at once.