Spring in New England. Finally, after a strange and late winter, plants are emerging from an unusually long hibernation. Imagine a VIGINTILLION SPERM floating wildly in the air and you inhale thousands of them with each breath you take as you stroll languidly through Central Park, attempting to overcome jetlag. A vigintillion is a number 1 followed by 63 zeroes or equivalent to 1,000 decillion, if you donâ€™t subscribe to the American numerical system (e.g., you are European). Sounds pretty yucky, huh? Then take that vision further, and your body, now aware it is being invaded by airborne sperm, creates special antibodies to fight the intruders. Then as a result of the antibodies, your body releases histamines into your system, causing itching, swelling, congestion, nasal drip, loss of smell, scratchy throat, rashes, etc. that results in a wicked case of hay fever. Hay fever is actually an allergic reaction to the inhaled pollen (sperm) of grasses, trees and flowers. It does not affect everybody nor does it strike with the same vengeance from year to year. In many cases, its severity is linked to the pollen count in the air. And when I arrived in New York in early May, every frigging grass and tree in the Northeast United States must have agreed to spread their seed (sperm, yes the phrase is literal) at the exact moment after I cleared customs and immigration at JFK airportâ€¦
The result? The worst case of hay fever I have ever experienced. And weâ€™re not talking Claritin, Zyrtec or other such over-the-counter anti-histamine (see the logic of the name) medications would make right. By day 3 in New York, my lungs had practically shut down and in the wee hours of the morning I could barely breath and frankly, thought it would be a cruel and slow death before sunrise and breakfast. I exaggerate, but just. After a week of misery and staying mostly indoors in an airconditioned room despite the 40-50 degree weather outdoors, I finally got myself some serious medication, a few wickedly expensive, doctor-prescribed, steroidal pills (I have forgotten their name) that served to open my lungs back up overnight, plus some of my favorite antibiotics (ever seen a biot?) to ensure that I didnâ€™t come down with something worse than â€œjustâ€ the allergies.
At any rate, the hay fever really did put a bit of a damper on things. My taste buds and appetite were slightly affected and my desire to just get up and go were really constrained. But Marketman loves New York, and this was a designated eating and shopping trip, so despite the floating plant sperm and resulting hay fever, stay tuned for several, possibly dozens, of posts on the recent trip to New York! From flowers, markets, restaurants, kitchen stores, shoe shopping, ingredients, dinners, silver, china, to a rant or two on pre-departure and post-arrival snafus, I hope you will enjoy this mini-series on â€œMarketman does New York 2007â€!!!