It’s not an allergy, it’s an adventure…

Every spring and summer I hear the same complaint from bewildered, red-eyed newcomers to Solano County: They’re beset with allergies the like of which they’ve never before experienced.

“I don’t know what’s happening to me,” they’ll sniffle while trying, unsuccessfully, to deal with the periodic sneezing, double vision and incessant ringing in their ears.

“I never had allergies before I moved here…”

Some sufferers complain of oak pollen while others blame ragweed and the county’s hygiene-challenged livestock.

The truth of the matter, however, is that the newcomers’ miseries are caused by none of these.

It’s an undocumented fact that S’lano County – where men are men and women sneeze in your beer – is, in and of itself, a gigantic, self-perpetuating allergen.

Oldtimers hereabouts will tell you that the problem is directly related to an ancient Suisuni Indian curse leveled by Chief Solano at Gen. Mariano “Old Red Nose” Vallejo after the chief got righteously fed up with the 19th century Mexican leader’s land-grabbing and general cussedness.  (Which might explain why Gen. Vallejo opted to spend the greater part of his time in nearby Sonoma County.)

Others say the entire situation is the result of a unique combination of factors found only in S’lano County which have turned the entire region into an international antihistamine sales leader.

Research (probably conducted, I should point out, by some researchers) shows that these factors may include:

A. Roughly 75 species of noxious weeds found only in S’lano County, none of which can be smoked without causing irreversible brain damage.

B. Large quantities of automotive paint particles periodically released into the atmosphere as the tops of overturned cars, trucks and motor homes scrape along S’lano County’s highways and byways.

C. Choking clouds of marsh dust churned up every spring by the passage of the county’s unique – and quite aggressive – variety of twin-engined mosquitoes.

D. Wheat chaff from an unexpected proliferation of mysterious rural crop circles in recent years.

E. A remarkably high concentration of animal dander from hordes of agitated Republicans and seasonal golfer infestations.

Any one of these factors, of course, could pose a serious allergy threat to many people, but the combination actually has created an allergenic atmosphere that has spread over the entire county like a gigantic, sneeze-inducing blanket.

Admittedly, this frequently results in misery for newcomers who have never been hit with such an all-encompassing wave of combined allergens before.

On the positive side, I’ve found, one eventually can get used to S’lano County’s somewhat irritating atmosphere.

Really. It only took me about 30 years…And, of course, it keeps macrobiotic yuppies from Davis from moving here in large numbers…

Originally published July 27, 2003

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