Not so super, really

Published 10:47 pm Thursday, February 5, 2009

It was supposed to be a quick trip up north to visit friends and share some Super Bowl fun. Four of us have gathered in one home or another for the big game each year for a decade or so, and — after hosting the get-togethers for the past five years — it was my turn to make the trip.

That’s how I found myself on a plane flying through snow-laden clouds into New York City Friday night, leaving balmy Hampton Roads, and after a quick flight, stepping onto the frigid tarmac of John F. Kennedy International Airport, waiting for a carry-on that wouldn’t fit under the pilot’s legs in the tiny plane my airline uses for this short-hop run.

I had dressed for the weather I expected in New York, remembering my woolen beanie and thick winter vest. Still, the wind bit into my flesh as I waited for my bag to be retrieved from where it had been tied to the landing gear. It was easy to ascribe my sudden sniffles to the whipsaw effect of temperature change. My sinuses were fogging up like a pair of cheap ski goggles.

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By Saturday morning, the temperature in New York had risen to -38 degrees, which was a good thing, since my best friend’s landlord is saving her heat for when it really gets cold. After scraping the ice from my eyelids that morning, I realized I was unable to breathe through my nose. Must have been the long, cold night, I figured, expecting that my mucous membranes would lose their brittleness once they’d thawed.

By the time the two of us reached Massachusetts — yes, I went all the way to Massachusetts to see the Super Bowl on television — I was on my second box of tissue and calling my broker to make an emergency investment in Kleenex. Clearly, I thought, I’m allergic to something (maybe the new car my friend was driving, which he was proud to point out still had less than 5,000 miles, thereby making it about 180,000 miles newer than my own).

By the end of the night, there was no hiding from the fact that I’d fallen seriously ill on this trip and was destined for misery, no matter which team won Sunday’s big game. In fact, I missed much of the game, as I was sleeping feverishly in a chair in front of the television — the best seat, with the best view of the big screen, but asleep, nonetheless.

After returning home and seeing a doctor on Monday, I’m on the mend now, having missed parts of every day this week. I felt terrible that I wasn’t able to spend more time with my friends, but I’ve been hearing from them on the phone for the past couple of days.

They’re thinking they must have developed some kind of sudden allergy. Yeah, that must be it.