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25 September 2002 @ 10:27 pm
More reflections on my path to here  
As I was sitting in a traffic jam on my way home from gamethyme's, I thought about the impact allergies had had on my life.

I've had allergies as long as I can remember, especially to dogs and cats. My parents have had dogs and cats as long as I can remember. While we were living in Poulsbo, that never seemed odd to me.

I was always on allergy medications. Always a pill, usually some sort of a nasal spray. I refused to go on injections, partially because of my fear of needles and partially because I felt offended that I should have to take such drastic measures just to live with these pets. There were some years when I took a claritin in the morning and a dimettapp in the evening; those large blue pills are still quite comforting for me.

No medication is perfect. Some symptoms always get through, and every medication has side effects. I was still perpetuallly sniffly, and had a nasal voice that even my "friends" sometimes made fun of. The constant doping hampered my coordination, and I allowed myself to get discouraged with most childhood games. I hate how I am when I'm on those drugs. Even in the early years of elementary school, I hated running with the other children.

I ostracized myself long before I became a full-fledged geek. I was such a pathetic dork that the other cub scouts would beat me up. Thanks to school officials who couldn't tell the difference between "getting beat up a lot" and "getting in a lot of fights", I was disciplined a lot. At one point I had detention for every lunch, every recess, for the rest of the year. The most valuable thing I learned in my years of karate was the discipline which obliterated that temper.

When I didn't have detention, I started spending as much time as possible away from the other children. I spent a lot of time in the library, a pattern which would dominate the rest of my life as a student. I think I only ate lunch in the cafeteria once when I was in High School; I would much rather be alone in the library, reading.

5th grade, I was put into the "accellerated" program, along with other students closer to my intelligence. Since they only had one accelerated class for each grade spread through several schools, we had a complicated bussing arrangement. First, I would ride the "normal" bus to Poulsbo elementary. Then, I would run the gauntlet of heckling and various abuse to leave the bus first, and board the bus set aside for "accelerated" students. We would then be shuttled to Suquamish elementary, on the nearby reservation. Even there, we were freaks, stuffed into the portable classroom farthest away from the school.

I made a couple friends among the freaks, although I can only remember one name now: Ronnie Bremer. Like most of my childhood friends, his dad was in the Navy, so he's probably in another part of the country now.

My allergies helped kickstart a pattern of ostracism. I won't say they caused the ostracism; they were just one factor among many. This pattern was very influencial in shaping the man I am today. It shaped my knowledge, my love of reading, my sympathy for people ostracized for any reason, my distaste for crowds, and my utter loathing for "the common man".

If I ever have children (which is seeming less likely with each passing year), I hope they have allergies, too.