I would like to preface this that I'm not a very allergic-y type person. I can't really deal with cats, and some dogs give me the sniffles ("the sniffles" is code for running-eyes, wheezing, clawing at my throat in itchy agony), but I'm usually fully functional with a single dose of Claritin. And okay, so I can't do shellfish ever since a bad incident at a Hibachi Grill, and one reaction to silicone in contacts had my optometrist tell me I could never have breast implants buuut... overall I'm a pretty healthy person. Not like I'm allergic to air. Or wheat, like my dear Aunt (Celiac love, for all those gluten-free people out there) or break out into hives around peanut butter.
I was visiting my boyfriend this past weekend (see: panties incident) and we headed over to his dad's girlfriend's lovely house for dinner. Me, him, his sibling's, the girlfriend's children, and a pair of her friends, all eating dinner together. I am trying to be on my best, most poised behavior. Not just "to impress the parents," but I'd like to think that since I'm basically an adult I should be able to hold my own in conversations and interactions with "real" adults. I want to appear poised and graceful, able to carry on intelligent, witty conversations while helping with the dishes with one hand and gesturing to make a point with the other.
Sadly, poised and graceful are two words that will NEVER describe me, unless the word "not" is placed directly before.
We are happily nomming on chips & salsa & guacamole, waiting for the guests to get there. I rarely get guacamole because it's always like an extra $2 at the burrito store, and who has that kind of money to pay for tasty goop. Yum yum yum, tasty goop. I am happy.
The right side of my mouth is kind of tingly and puffy feeling, like that time I found out I was allergic to penicillin the night before easter. "Calm down," I thought to myself. "You know you are a hypochondriac. You probably just scraped your lip on a chip and the salt is irritating it."
You see, I can worry about a brain tumor for a week and be perfectly fine, but the moment I tell myself there's nothing wrong it all goes to hell.
The lip situation feels even puffier so I discretely excused myself to the bathroom to assess the situation. "It's not that bad," I think. "It's all in your head."
Except it wasn't in my head. It was on my face. Half of my upper lip was puffed out, hanging over my lower lip. I looked like a plastic surgeon had a psychotic break and tried to stab me to death with collagen-injections.
And then the guests arrived.
Maybe I could play it off? Pretend like it's nothing? WRONG.
Everyone noticed it immediately. Sweet boyfriend found an extra-strength claritin and I took it right away, not that any visible relief occurred. Everyone tried to offer suggestions to what it might be, possible cures, some sort of joke about Angelina Jolie. I tried really hard to retain my dignity. I played it off, carried on conversations, brushed off concerns, and tried to pretend it wasn't there. I felt like 2-inches tall. If first impressions are the most important, these guests probably thought I was a mutant freak.
"That sweet boy," they probably said to each other once they got home. "How kind of him to look past her glaring facial deformity and date her anyway." And then probably shuttered as the image of my flopping toucan-beak flitted across their minds.
And my lip was getting bigger still. I could see it in my peripheral vision when I looked down. It dragged across everything I put in my mouth. Every now and then someone would glance at it and look away quickly. It was like the Scarlet Letter, except the A was for "awkwardness."
Boyfriend disappeared to drop a sibling off somewhere (after multiple affirmations that I was not a hideous mutant freak) and I was left alone with the actual adults. Not a yung'un in sight. Lip flapping in the breeze. I like to think I managed quite well. The conversations went smoothly and I could pretend that people were looking at me when I spoke, not oogling at the proboscis I'd developed. They were wonderfully cool people, and such superstars for cooking and cleaning up after all of us. I have immense respect for people who balance domesticity and having interesting lives.
Once the boyfriend returned (I need to come up with a pseudonym for him, because soon awkward exes will be making appearances in the blog. hmm. Howard? Howard. My boyfriend named Howard.) we gratefully escaped to the den...
to play Rockband. Get your mind out of the gutter.