Day Two: Post-Click Trauma

I think I’ve got post-click trauma.

NaNo’s soothing encouragement of not having to worry if my writing makes sense swayed me into filling out the info and pressing the submit button.  The accompanying message should have calmed my apprehensions, but I’m not sure it did–“Now you’ve done it.  You’ve signed up.”  That’s right I have.  I am committed.

With a simple button click my fate is sealed for thirty days.  Here is my truest confession: I never finish anything.  I would probably get Miss Non-Commitment if I were to go out for the Junior Miss Pageant.  Fat Chance of that happening.  For one I am a sophomore and second I have a couple of life allergies that are real hindrances to doing anything requiring major effort on my part.  Only one of my allergies is life-threatening; the other two tend only make my life miserable.  Here they are: a) orange juice, b) penicillin, and c) attention defeated disorder.

I realize these particular allergies won’t prevent me from writing.  They mainly serve as excuses for not taking this task seriously enough to pursue it with passion and vigor.  Passion and vigor?  Where did I come up with that?  Passion and vigor sound like lines from one of my mom’s Vogue magazines.  Okay, enough with the whining.  I am going to step up and really try to do this novel write challenge.  I hear Yoda in the background of my brain, “There is no try, only do.”  So, I will do this.  No more Yoda talks, please.

In regards to my allergies, I won’t use them as an excuse, but I should take them more seriously than I do.  My penicillin allergy earns me a red check on my school file.  I should wear a bracelet.  Don’t remind me, Mom got me one already.  Maybe if the design didn’t blare out, “Look!  This person has a life-threatening allergy!  She’s different!” I would wear it.  One of my goals in life is to blend in and not bring attention on myself, which is the third allergy.

As for the first allergy, which is not really life-threatening, although it’s a real pain in the neck.  Really bad pun.

Orange juice.  Part of the breakfast of champions, right?  Except citric acid makes  my throat seize up like I’ve got strep.  Which is how we discovered I’m allergic to orange juice.  When a particularly nasty flu was going around I wanted to avoid it.   I drank lots of orange juice because I would rather drink my vitamin C than chew one of those fakey orangey pills Mom leaves next to my plat. I drank at least two glasses in the morning, I went to bed early, and I skipped the doughnuts, Tootsie Rolls, and French fries that are usually part of my diet.  I lost weight, I felt more rested, and my throat burned and scratched until Mom finally took me to the doctor.  He said, “She doesn’t have strep.  Have her stop drinking orange juice and let’s see what happens.”  My sore throat went away.  Do champions drink Welch’s grape juice as part of their All-American diet?

Penicillin is second on the list, which was a more miserable discovery experience than orange juice.  It all started with me going with my parents on one of their writer conference trips last year.  Having both parents make their living as professional writers has its good points and bad points.  A good point is that it’s amazing that they are pursuing what they like and are good at.  It’s not like they are famous, but it is fun when I find their name in print.  I used to pretend they were famous and would look in People to see if we were snapshotted unaware.  That was middle school.  I’m past that glory need now, and would probably cringe if found photographed with my parents.

The down side to having parents as professional writers is our lifestyle is not consistent.  Sometimes they make a lot of money  and other times we end up watching our budget very, very closely.  One upside, that can be a downside, are writing conferences.  My parents tend to take me since they want me to fall in love with writing and become a writer as well.  They also take me because it’s the only way we can afford a family vacation.  They write off the conference and we squeeze in some sightseeing in between their workshops. Usually we go somewhere boring, like Phoenix, Arizona, yet the conference where I discovered my penicillin allergy was to the Bahamas and even I couldn’t complain about that.

Two problems came up with the trip. For one, with the extra two days tagged onto the Thanksgiving vacation I had to collect signatures from teachers and try to get any homework I would be missing.  Most of my teachers said things like, “Lucky.  Wish I could go.” Or “Got room in your suitcase?”  and “Don’t worry about homework.  Go have a good time.”  One of my teachers joked, “Think you could bring back a steel drum for me?”  So homework didn’t figure to be too much of a problem.  The biggest problem turned out to be an infection that came up last-minute. Not a terrible infection, only one of those embarrassing ones to talk about, the kind a dose of antibiotics takes care of quite nicely.

Mom said, “Don’t be embarrassed, lots of women get…”

I cut her off right there, “Mom, stop.  This is really awkward to talk about.”  She sighed, handed me my little plastic container of penicillin, and indicated to the bottle of cranberry juice in the fridge.  Good thing I’m not allergic to cranberry juice. I began taking the medication the night before our trip.

The week in the Bahamas proved fabulous and weird all at the same time.  No one else had brought their kid along.  Do you know what it’s like to be thirty years younger than anyone in the group?  Lots of, “Are you having a good time?”  “What a lucky girl you are!”  “Doing your homework?”  That one came with the traditional good-natured smirk wink.  I, of course, returned their comments with a pleasant smile, because without being rude, how do you answer these stupid remarks?  All of Mom and Dad’s conference cronies thought I was a nice girl, although a bit shy.  Little did they know I was not thinking nice things for being such a nice girl.

While my parents attended workshops I had to stick around the hotel.  I could have gotten a great tan hanging out by the pool, but the instructions on my pill bottle said not to be in the sun while on the medication.  Not being able to be in the sun while in the Bahamas?  Why did I come?  On top of that misery restriction, Dad had forbidden me to browse the shops unless he or Mom accompanied me.

“Even though we are at a resort, things can happen,”  he reminded me.

Yes, Dad, I read my internet news blips.  I don’t want to be abducted or found mysteriously missing either. The only excitement occurred at one of our dinners, where in my boredom with the dinner table conversation, I took a sneak peek at Dad’s bill.  Doing my slow math I figured an overcharge error of $2.00.  Hmm, multiply that by ten tables, with eight couples each and the hotel could be making a tidy profit.  I casually pointed out the mistake to Dad.  He put on his reading glasses and made his “hmmm” sounds of agreement, and then pointed the mistake out to a friend at another table, who said “You’re right, Tom—mine’s off too.”

Like the kid’s game of telephone, the spark of discovery went around the room until the head conference guy got the word.  Then the head of the wait staff got the word.  Who got a hold of the manager.  Then a fluster of apologies, adjustments, complimentary drinks went around.  Everybody’s happy.  And I enjoyed my second Sprite of the night.  They threw one of those nasty red maraschino cherries in with an umbrella.  Thank you, very much.

After a week of tropical sun, which I couldn’t be in, turquoise water, which I couldn’t go in because that would mean I was in the sun, and a course of penicillin, I headed back home with my  parents.  What an excruciating trip home.  Being on a chartered plane drinks went round and round.  It’s incredible how obnoxious some middle-aged men can become while under the delusion everyone thinks they are charming.

“Tom, do you know you have one pretty daughter?  She’s a real nice girl.  Cheers, sweetheart.”

The longest hour and a half flight I’ve ever been on.  Either my jeans were too tight, or the shrimp I’d had the night before were posing a problem.  I itched.  Not a mosquito bite itch.  This itch crept up from within and came out in places like my armpits, thighs and made my fingers swell.  I wanted to cry I itched so badly. The itching grew so bad I thought I was going to throw up. I kept my misery to myself.  Everyone else being so happy, including my parents, how could I break the news that their nice, shy girl wanted to scream and peel off her clothes and scratch like a dog fighting off fleas?

After we finally landed and cleared customs I ran off to the nearest rest room and peeled off my jeans.  I discovered welts covered my legs and my fingers resembled ten little sausages.  Mom came in, wondering why I took off so suddenly and stared horrified at her daughter standing in the middle of the airport bathroom with her jeans around her ankles scratching like she’s infested.  Mom did one of her mini-freak outs, pulled up my jeans, pushed me out of the bathroom and fiercely whispered to my dad to “get us home because our daughter just might be dying of some tropical disease, and I don’t want the authorities to find out.“ Dad hustled us out of the airport.  I don’t really remember much after that.  But I do know now I am allergic to penicillin.

Orange juice

Orange juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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