Anyone that reads my writings will notice that my characters tend to have a significant number of these such moments. And while perfect for the quirky romance novel, I have to admit that I draw upon a substantial (I’m talking a LIFETIME) amount of personal experience. To simply call me ‘accident-prone’ or ‘klutzy’ barely scratches the surface of my… let’s call it a… disorder.
I have no point of reference for when I began having these ‘episodes’. It’s very possible that my birth alone was in itself an ‘episode’ but let’s just say it was the magical moment the world was blessed with THIS (Oh, I'm pointing to myself). I have so many occurrences that I could share with you it’s difficult to choose just one to whet your appetite with. So it’s easier if I default to the latest and greatest which is also the one I told my family this evening at my Dad’s birthday dinner.
Once upon a time… Ok, fine… Last week, I was making dinner. I got a lovely shipment of organic fruits and vegetables which included a pound of tomatillos and j alapeños (there was more in the delivery but I just didn’t see the relevance to the story). I’d never eaten a tomatillo or made any sort of dish with it but I actually found a recipe, the wasn’t salsa, and gathered my ingredients like a good little chef- peppers, tomatillos, onions, jalapeños, chicken, etc… and a-choppin-I-a-went! Look at me go, I'm Rachel freakin’ Ray!
I chopped and diced and minced away like a pro with my fancy new kitchen knives. “What was that? I said as I felt a little drop of moisture on the tip of my nose. “Ohhh, that’s not good.” I am elbows deep in fresh, organic jalapeños.
This is the conversation I had with myself:
“Self, you should wash that pepper juice from your skin before it starts to burn.”
“Oh Self, you are right. Let’s rinse that off straight away!”
“Right-O, Self.” (My inner dialog sound EXACTLY like that. Don’t judge me. J)
I laid down my knives and stepped to the sink. I filled my hands with cool clean water and splashed it onto my nose and mouth. I had to make sure that I removed all of the potentially harmful oils, so I rubbed the water vigorously over the lower half of my face. When suddenly… something didn’t feel quite right. Strangely, my lips began to burn and the feeling spread rapidly upwards into my nostrils. Before I could say, “HOLY SHIT, What have I done?” my nose began to run and the tears streamed down my cheeks! “Oh my god, I just maced myself with fucking jalapeños!” The insides of my nostrils burned all the way into my brain.
I squeezed my nose holes closed with my fingers and the pain shot right through to the back of my skull. “Stop touching your face, you moron!”
I fumbled blindly with my cellphone. I needed Google to save me, ASAP! I struggled with squinted eyes and a snot covered face to type in something along the lines of how to save an idiot from 3rd degree jalapeño burns (kidding... it was more like ‘HELP! hot pepper in nose’). I clicked on the first site in the list as I now knew the true meaning of ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that!” It was a thread of wise internet users touting their tried and true methods of relief.
Option#1- Rub sliced tomato on the affected area. SWEET! I have tomatoes. I went to the fridge and pulled out my tub of little cherry tomatoes. “Perfect,” I thought. I pinched that little life-saver in half and boom! Shoved one juicy half into each flaming nostril! “Ahhhhh….. relief… NO! No relief! It still burns. Oh My God!” I ripped the tomatoes from my nose and grab my phone.
Option#2- Lime juice. Ok. Lime juice. To the fridge for the lime juice. “Yes! I have a bottle of lime juice”. I quickly removed the top and squirted lime juice onto my fingers and shoved them right into my nose. I waited a patient 3-seconds for relief until I realized what I had just done. I squealed in pain as the fire raged worse than before. I stood at the open refrigerator and saw a whole lemon. “It’s not on the list but who the hell cares!” I grabbed the lemon and pressed its cold citrus skin against my nose. The cool lemon actually offered a slight bit of relief. At least until the lemon got warm and the fierce burning scalded my brain cells. The lemon, covered in snot and tears went into the trash. “Worthless fruit!”
Option#3- Milk and/or Sour Cream. “I can do that and I have both.” I got out the carton of milk and the Breakstone’s. I poured a small cup of milk into a shallow bowl and tried to dip my ‘non-banana’ sized nose into the bowl. Without sucking it up into my sinuses and risk drowning in 2%, I poured out the useless milk into the sink and grabbed the sour cream. Since I am not a barbarian, I pulled a knife from the drawer to use as a spatula. I scooped up a healthy amount on the blade and spackled it into my nostrils! “Yes? Will this be the miracle cure for my stupidity? HELL NO!” I ran to the bathroom for toilet tissue to blow out the sour cream, tomato seed and snot concoction that now ran down onto my upper lip.
I was at my wits end. I truly felt that my brain was moments away from an actual nuclear reactor meltdown. I took one more look at the phone screen.
Option#4- Rubbing alcohol. “Fine. What can it hurt? Right?” Off to the bathroom for the bottle. I generously soaked a cotton ball with the fluid and rubbed it into my raw and sizzling mucous membranes. My toes curled and my head spun. “Mother of God! Just kill me and save the world.” I begged for the pain and stupidity to stop. It does not.
I refused to return to the devil’s internet for any further torture techniques. I decided that I must fight through the agony and learn from it. I wandered back to the kitchen and got and ice pack out of the freezer. I left the half-prepped dinner ingredients on the counter and threw myself weakly onto the couch with the pack pressed to my face. After 5-seconds, the burning gradually slowed until my nose was completely numb.
“Self, you’ve got to be shitting me.”
“Nope, self… I’m not shitting you.”
So, this evening I told that story at my Dad’s birthday dinner. As you can probably imagine, my family is more than used to my “episodes” and they LOVE to hear me relive every detail until they are rolling in the booth with tears streaming down their cheeks. It makes me happy to see the joy that I bring to their lives.
As I entertain them with the end my story the waitress comes by with the check. My Dad, still trying to catch his breath, casually mentions to the waitress (as if giving her a very valuable life lesson) that nothing including tomatoes, lemons, limes, milk, sour cream or alcohol will work to relieve Capsaicin (the devil oil in jalapeños) burn on your face. She agreed and said that it sounded more like a salsa recipe. And then it hit me…
After I finish this post I'm going back to that website to scroll all the way to the bottom to see if the last thread entry is “Now take a picture of the jackass who just made a taco salad on their face.”
P.S. Use GLOVES!