Allergic Fret

“Self” I said, “You should get out more.” So, on Tuesday night I went to a press event at a local restaurant. I am on a lot of press lists because in a previous writer-ly life I edited and wrote for a local website. I was unceremoniously merged out of that job and so am not naming names lest I accidentally promote the site’s new iteration. Bitter? What makes you say that?

But I digress – back to my Tuesday adventure. I understood immediately why the publicist suggested prompt arrival because when I meandered in an hour into the festivities (I had permission to do so, I did ask) most of the tables were filled – with people I didn’t know all of whom seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. I accepted the ‘welcome’ glass of Chardonnay and drank about half of it while munching on divine caprese. Shortly thereafter, I bailed to grocery shop before picking my daughter and her friends up from volleyball camp.

While checking out my groceries [Is it really self-checkout if every single time the machine calls someone to assist you? Could it be me?] I started to feel oddly warm. When I returned to the car and looked in the rearview mirror, I noticed that my face and décolletage were tomato red. I took a Benadryl – naturally, I keep a stash in the car – immediately and then banged the steering wheel in horror – I’d had an allergic reaction to the wine. While I always enjoy using the word décolletage, the horrible thought that I could have a wine allergy… well, you can imagine.  I’ve had the caprese at the same restaurant previously so despite how hard I tried, I couldn’t blame it for my itchy redness.

I cannot develop an alcohol allergy. I need wine squarely by my side. I come from a family who believes that emotion is best expressed with an abundance of tact and a glass of wine. I married a WASP whose tribe prefers to stir up martinis rather than emotions. What will happen at Thanksgiving if I’m not drinking? 

And it was such a tiny amount of wine – thou shalt not drink and drive especially one’s child and her friends – that betrayed me. I will get the name of that villainous vino and vanquish it. It has to be an additive in that particular brand, right?  

Maybe this ‘getting out of the house’ thing is overrated.

But out of the house I was, and would remain as I went off to pick up progeny and pals. The Benadryl worked so that by the time I loaded three girls into the car my pallor returned to pasty. I turned off the engine at the first girl’s house – but the fan continued to hum away… because the engine was about to overheat. Guess that spot of water in the school parking lot wasn’t a puddle after all – it was water leaking from my radiator.

And I knew that.

On the prior Thursday, the car had overheated forcing my injured (that’s a story for another post) husband and I to pull into a gas station as the car’s warning bells (like a louder, blaring, more ominous version of the ‘your key is still in the car ding dong’ bell) warned of eminent meltdown. We had to miss the MRI to which we were driving and I swear if we’d pulled into a dealership instead of a gas station I’d likely be driving a new car today – instead of the loud piece of junk that, despite my magical thinking still had a tiny hole in the radiator. There are no car fairies in this life.

Am I to carry two bottles of water – one for the radiator and one for me? How is it that a modern car – mine is a 2012 – can overheat in the first place? How is it that I didn’t know where to refill the radiator with water while at the first girl’s house?

I serenaded the girls – turned off the radio lest we strain the electrical system further – on the trip with ‘musical’ variations of “I hate my car”. My ‘tune’ switched to neutral when I saw the gage drop closer to the middle. Thankfully, the car, girls and I made it home.

I’m staying home tonight.

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