I am a biology teacher, but my specialty is plant biology. Quite specifically, horticulture, plant propagation, and taxonomy. All involve handling mature plants, which are usually flowering at the time. I focused on plants in college because I enjoyed the classes, especially the identification and ecology classes, which involved a lot of time in the field (literally often in a field). I also managed the greenhouse at Bates for a couple of years before I graduated, so I had a good working knowledge of horticulture by the time I was done. I love plants, especially the ones that I can go out and study.
A few years after college, I started having allergy problems. I already knew I was allergic to dust/ dust mites, and a few other things, but I hadn’t been tested in a few years. My allergies got bad enough that I was re-tested. When I went for the results, the allergist told me that it was easier to tell me the trees I wasn’t allergic to: I am allergic to all but three of the trees on the eastern seaboard. And don’t forget the ragweed, Queen Anne’s Lace, goldenrod, and asters. Nice. A plant biologist who is very allergic to pollen.
I am reminded of this perennial complaint (perennial, pun intended for any plant geeks), because on my lovely ride on Sunday, the pollen level was very high. I have had all the usual allergy symptoms since the weekend, but I’m holding out hope that it’s just a cold. The irony of being a plant biologist allergic to pollen is enough. I can skip the reminder, thanks. Really.