Fairy dust it's not

Pollen fallin'

ktanner@thetribunenews.comFebruary 23, 2012 

— I guess we might call it Tinkerbell’s “fairy dust,” if we were 6-year-old cockeyed-optimists. However, as an adult who’s 10 times that age (aka “grumpy old person”), I now think of the North Coast’s annual cloud of yellow-green dust as “The Attack of the Pain-in-the-Nose Pollen People.”

For weeks, the fine powder has blanketed every horizontal or even partially level outdoor surface. The town has streets of gold that have nothing to do with music, movies or the gospel.

When we do get storms, it rains in yellow rivulets. In fact, disgruntled Husband Richard said that, in our predicted “big”storm on Feb. 7, “We got a tenth of an inch of drizzle and a tenth of an inch of pollen.”

The pollen gives a new twist to the concept of living in a dust bowl.

Quite frankly, if I’d wanted a yellow car, I’d have bought one. It’s disgusting what a combination of pollen and drizzle does to our brightly royal-blue Toyota. It’s like auto acne, zits and all.

We recently had the car’s pricey polymer coating reapplied and, doncha know, the very next night, Mother Nature drizzled, then added a thick layer of pollen. When I drove into downtown Cambria that afternoon, at least a half dozen people told me, “Your car’s filthy! You need to wash it!”

The grumpy old person here felt like whipping the $49.00 receipt out of my pocket and saying, “I just did!”

Even without rain, pollen’s a pain for car owners, especially those of us who park our vehicles outside. The last time I drove away without first dusting off the car, it was enveloped by a dense cloud of yellow for at least two blocks. But not even the brisk 55 mph drive down Highway 1 removed all the pollen. Sticky stuff.

Some “experts” warn that leaving acidic pollen on a car too long could harm a pricey paint job. Others disagree. But harmful or not, it sure isn’t the latest car-finish trend in “Car and Driver” magazine.

One of those long, shaggy magnetic-yarn car brushes usually can sweep away the pollen, but not for long. About a third of what you swept off will immediately settle back down on the surface you just cleaned.

A full-on, get-out-the-Meguiars-and-the-bucket car wash can remove all the pollen. And, yup, by the time I start on the car’s second side, the first side already is pollen-dusted. Phooey.

The effects are just as bad around the house.

Our frog pond looks like someone had a raw-egg fight in it. Our meadow is greenish gold — even where there’s no grass. Our windows are frosted, even where they’ve been spotted by recent drizzles.

The pollen has gilded our deck. Actually, the yellowish frosting might even have been an improvement over the dark red and dark green paint capriciously applied by our home’s previous owner, but the pollen never falls in an even enough layer.

If you want yellow-butt syndrome, then sit on one of our cushioned patio chairs these days. And when you do, poof! Aaaaaachooooo!

Ah, yes. The allergies.

’Tis the season for buying Kleenex by the case, Zyrtec by the carton and cough syrup by the gallon. Eyes are watering, noses are running, throats are raw and we’re wheezing like asthmatic centenarians who just attempted a 10-K marathon.

But I’m still a cockeyed optimist, if an antique one, and I’m of the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” genre. So now I’m trying to think of a use for all that pollen:

• Fertilizer? What would grow? More pollen?

• Add it to some liquid foundation for theatrical makeup in case someone wants to go to a costume party as an ear of corn?

• Stir it into oil to make your own oddly yellowish paint, should anybody really want to paint anything that color?

• Sprinkle it over a freshly hair-sprayed do, if someone yearns to emulate the dumb blonde who took her newly bleached coif into a chlorinated pool?

Help me here, folks. There has to be a positive side to this somewhere.

It must be hiding under all that pollen.

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