Extraterrestrial dust?

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2007

My mom, aunt and I made a trip to the Outer Banks last Saturday.

It was a day trip, an opportunity for my mom and aunt to say they actually did something on their vacation, other than sitting around waiting for me to come home from work.

After much debating, we decided to take my mom’s mini-van instead my Honda because it had more leg room.

And, of course, because a mini-van is the ultimate ride to take to the beach.

Note the sarcasm here.

Wind burned and tired, we returned to my house around 9 p.m.

“What’s on your car?” my mom asked as her head lights move down my driveway.

As my mom placed her van into park I noticed a thin layer of dust that covered my car.

I panicked at first thinking it had been vandalized or some kind of freak pollution incident had destroyed the paint job.

But as I walked closer and wiped a little bit of the dust off onto my finger I realized the extraterrestrial dust was only pollen.

It was the same reason my eyes had been burning for the past week.

The tree on the opposite side of the yard was the culprit or perhaps it was the pine tree that hangs over the drive.

Whatever one it was, it had done a number. In the morning it looked even worse than the night before.

My poor blue car had turned a pastel green from all the yellowish-green dust that had built up on it.

According to news reports, pollen levels are at their highest this year, almost three times the level they were last year.

Experts say the lack of rain and the heat wave we had last week have helped the pollen to reach these levels.

North Carolina is not the only state having a pollen outbreak; other states in the southeast have been battling the tiny spores.

A couple of days ago in Atlanta the pollen count hit 5,937 per cubic meter of air.

The dust has even sparked the artist in people, with web sites and radio stations offering rewards for those who can create the best design/art work out of the pollen on their car.

Hmm, makes me wonder if I should doodle a little on my car.

Anything that we do to rid ourselves of the pollen from scrubbing to rinsing to washing, nothing really works.

Pollen spores are seemingly attracted to anything clean.

Believe me, I learned this lesson when I attempted to wash my car last Monday.

After a short Northampton County Commissioners meeting in Jackson, I debated all the way back to Ahoskie whether or not to take a few minutes to wash my car.

Following a few awkward glances at my car in Jackson and Rich Square, and imagining Patrick Bryant, who works in composition at the paper, laughing while writing “wash me” on it with his finger—I decided I probably should take it to the car wash.

When I parked my car in the employee lot, it looked clean, almost brand new again.

But when I stepped out of the office to come home a few hours later, I noticed a light dust had settled on it once again.

Yep, that was a waste of eight dollars.

Now, here it is Friday and my car looks just like it did on Monday before it was washed.

And if you are an allergy sufferer, then I’m sorry, prepare to be in a medicated haze through the next month or so.

Medical professionals have reported an increase in patients this year for allergies due to the high pollen levels.

I dropped by Northampton County High School East the other day and a mother came in to pick up her son from school.

I felt bad for her because she was clearly suffering from allergies, her eyes were running

as if she were crying and she couldn’t go a word with out coughing.

Even though my symptoms this year have been mild, I still hate what the pollen has done to my car or Blue Belle, as I call her.

Now, I’ll probably have to rename her something ugly like, the Green Beast or the Pollen Mobile, at least until the pollen attack is over.