Fact: The human sneeze can travel up to 100 miles per hour. That means that even if you sneeze when no one is around, spit and particles from your nose will spread 150 feet away affecting anyone who has the misfortune of being in the vicinity.
This summer might just go down as the windiest, dustiest and even hottest season ever. After residing in Kuwait for quite awhile, the past couple of months have truly been a futile battle waged between myself and the sand. Forget about the huge sandstorms that drop a load of sand and move on their merry way, it’s the small inconspicuous swirls of sand that are the real menaces. The wind whips up just enough sand to leave a thin layer of dusty sand behind. It muffs up the exterior of your car and invades the interior through any vent it can find, resulting in a dust bowl of sorts as you drive your vehicle. The sweet confines of my home have been equally bombarded with more sand than I can shake a stick (or perhaps a feather duster) at! A simple walk through my living room results in a thin layer of reddish sand staining the soles of my feet.
For the past several years, around mid-August, I always find myself obsessively checking the daily weather reports praying for a huge rainfall well before the dog days of summer have any intention of ending. I find myself checking my weather app even though I know it will either show rows of cheerful sun icons or wind icons that predict endless days of windy weather that whip up every grain of sand in its path. Grappling with the never-ending days of wind and sand this summer has been difficult to say the least. I have armed myself with vast quantities of eye drops, tissues and nose drops. In reality, nothing really helps. Yet I still engage in my futile attempt to see and breathe in the midst of it all.
Perhaps the worst aspect of it all is sneezing. That’s right! I have gone from dainty little sneezes that are barely audible to enormous sneezes that could rip the roof off. Some days, I sneeze with such force that my upper and lower teeth collide with shattering precision. And it’s not only one sneeze at a time…it’s a series of sneezes that come one after the other leaving me powerless to speak or even open my eyes for a good couple of minutes. I never knew that you could actually sneeze while you are fast asleep. Thanks to the dusty weather, I’ve been waking up at 5 am courtesy of a raucous sneeze that slaps me out of my slumber.
Sneezing has become a pastime this summer with everyone in my family, including our cat, spending several minutes a day “achooooing” and running for the tissue box. Dare I dream of greener pastures across the pond back in the States? I say “No” given that my home country is currently battling wildfires, excessive flooding, killer mosquitoes and brain-eating amoebas. In the grand scheme of things, dealing with the dust is a walk in the park. So I guess it might just be better to sneeze and bear it.