Thursday, June 18


I'm a big believer in karma, not so much as a deep spiritual principle, but as a feature of the slender threads that connect all of us in this weird world where nothing is as far from anything else as it appears (oh.  maybe that is a deep spiritual principle.  never mind).   And then there's "karmic payback", where the "rewards" (so to speak) of our actions are heaped upon us without warning--I find that generally true as well, even when it pisses me off.

At heart, I'm a scientist as well.  So yes, I know full well that viruses cause colds and flu, and that we're all human (well, most of us anyway) and none of us escape the occasional malady.  It is true, however, that some of us whine a lot more about it than others (not that I know anyone like that).  And it's also true that we don't all get ill the same way.  We each get our own special flavor.  Isn't that special?

So here's the thing with me.  I'm really not such a good breather (shh...don't tell anyone). I don't mean when I'm sick (like now) or when I'm really really sick (like now).  I mean in my daily life.  I hold my breath a lot.  I breathe shallow.  I am a bottom breather (which does not mean I'm a catfish, that's a bottom feeder, get your terms straight), which is not all that typical, or so I hear.  For the uninitiated, it means that the space in which I breathe congregates around the end of the exhale, not the "top" of the inhale.  I don't "hold my breath", even though I just said I do.  I stop breathing at the exhalation point, which is kinda like holding your breath, and kinda different.  There are a few people (you know who you are) who actually notice and remind me that inhaling at some point might be a good idea again,.  There are far more people that wonder why I sigh a lot, some of whom worry that they're boring me or that I'm fed up or exhausted.  No.  I just have to take a breath occasionally. Damn.

Before you wonder about my lung capacity (huge) and my lung strength (strong) and whether I've ever smoked (no) or anything else that might affect my breath in an organic fashion, the answer to everything is no, no, no, and no.  I can blow up a damn air mattress.  I can pretty easily swim 25 meter wind sprints (swimming the length of a standard racing pool without breathing).  I can hold a note while singing.  I can--and do--snorkel (no, no tanks) to 30 feet and hang around down there, swimming with the turtles and browsing around shipwrecks and enjoying the white noise of the underwater world.  I can hold my breath through long tunnels (do you know that rule?) with the best of 'em.  There's nothing wrong with my lungs.

I just don't breathe.  It's a matter of principle, I guess.  Or habit.  Or dysfunction.  Or something.

So, when I get allergies, guess what happens?  Yup.  Asthma.

And when I get a cold, guess what happens?  I can't breathe.  Except for real.  No foolin' around.  Bronchitis is my middle name.  And there's no's zero to sixty in five seconds.  Because I guess warnings just wouldn't be as fun. Honestly, it is as if the universe is laughing and saying "So, you think you don't really need to breathe, eh?  Try this on for size, and see how you like it!"

Writing tonight, in this fog of spasmodic half-breath, in the profound discomfort and heaviness that does not respond in the least to steam or medication or chicken soup, without the free will to choose to breath at the bottom or at the top or to swim with the turtles, I just gotta say..I don't.

I don't like it at all.

Happy now?

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