Yellow isn’t always mellow _ march 25, 2016 _ www. thecolumbiastar. com _ columbia star

Julia Rogers Hook

Ok, I’ve had it with this pollen stuff. For the non-southerners, every spring, the south is inundated with a dusting of yellow pollen that gets everywhere. It’s the predecessor to outrageously stunning flowers from our azaleas, dogwoods, pear trees, and all sorts of blooming beauty. But between my battle with OCD and my freakish penchant for tidiness, it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

My husband Marty gets a kick out of watching me fight it. And I have to admit…I probably look kind of silly walking around with my feather duster and my leaf blower, but it’s my only defense. This stuff is crazy! I do NOT remember pollen from my childhood in the south. Now maybe I was just too wrapped up in myself to notice the world turning yellow when I was in grade school but it seems like something I’d recall.

I remember my first spring here after my California years. It was literally fine one day, and the next day everything was yellow! I was washing my car daily and vacuuming twice a day!

“You do know all this dusting and cleaning is useless, don’t you?” Marty was smug.

“How can it be useless,” I replied with my own degree of haughtiness. “Look at the difference between where I’ve dusted and where I haven’t!”

“It’ll be yellow again in an hour,” he assured me.

“Will not!” I growled, reverting back to playground tactics.

But he was right! An hour later, everything was yellow once more. It’s tough but while the household chores can be daunting when we have pollen season, the car almost did me in that first year. And pretty much every year since.

I can’t stand for my car to be dirty. Even in good weather, I usually wash it at least once a week but in pollen season, it’s almost daily. I would run it through those gas station washes because, if I was going to do it every day, those $20 car washes tend to add up.

My brilliant plan of attack was to simply run it through the $5 wash just to get the pollen off. I mean that’s all I needed right? Just some intense sprays of water to wash away the pollen and then a blast of hot air to dry it…yes! It was a great plan!

Except with the $5 car wash, there was NO air drying. They didn’t tell you that of course on the little sign that listed the prices of the car wash! I mean, isn’t it perfectly logical to assume if you are paying for a car wash, the drying is automatically a part of the package?

I thought so, but I was wrong. There were a few intense encounters with the clerks in those early years as I tried to state my case where the hostility was palpable. I don’t frequent those places anymore. But honestly! WHY would anyone wash their car and then let it dry by itself. Then you get all these water spots which are just as bad as the pollen.

I tried to explain that to a clerk at one gas station, and it almost came to a physical altercation.

“But a car wash ALWAYS comes with the drying part,” I told the sullen clerk. I suspected she had heard this argument before.

“Naw, not wid da $5 car wash it don’t.” She crossed her arms and shot daggers at me with her icy blue eyes.

“Well if that’s the case, why doesn’t it SAY that on the SIGN?” I felt my indignation was reasonable.

At that point, she stood up and leaned across the counter. I noticed the muscles in her arms and the dragon tattoo on her neck. I thought it might be in my best interest not to pursue the subject.

“FINE!” I barked it out as I went back out to the gas pump, grabbed a wad of paper towels and proceeded to dry my car off myself.

Lesson learned… now I carry a towel or two in my trunk, never complain to the clerks, and console myself during pollen season with thoughts of how beautiful the flowers are going to be when it’s gone.

After all, I’d rather have yellow pollen on my car than purple bruise marks on my face!

I’m just saying….