Wednesday, April 07, 2010


This morning, as our plane lifted off into the skies above Atlanta, both She Who Must Be Obeyed and I noticed a low-lying yellow-green pall over the entire metropolitan area. It could only be that most dreaded of Southern springtime atmospheric phenomena: Pog!

When April comes with its “shoures soote” - sweet showers, as old Geoff Chaucer might have said - Atlantans rightly fear the vagaries of the weather. Powerful Southern-style thunderstorms, some replete with hail and funnel-clouds, are frequent visitors... and a couple of months hence, we will be in the throes of hurricane season. Not that hurricanes per se are a huge problem for north-central Georgia, but they will occasionally swing through in their attenuated tropical storm personae, dumping floodly piles of rain.

But more dreaded still than any of these is Atlanta’s unique curse, the Pog. (Or maybe the Smollen.) It’s a pernicious combination of smog and pollen, an eye-watering, nose-stopping, lung-wrenching devil’s brew. It is, perhaps, the price we pay for being blessed with such an abundance of beautiful flowering trees.

We’ve always known it was a real phenomenon, and today’s aerial view of the city offered compelling visual evidence... that eerie greenish-yellow cloudbank.

The clincher was when I looked out the airplane window and saw a gremlin on the wing. At first I was concerned, but then I realized he was suffering from seasonal allergies so disabling, he couldn’t make any progress in his attempts to rip the cowling off the port side engine.

[Of course nobody believed me when I told them about the gremlin... but after we landed, I saw a wad of used tissues jammed into the engine nacelle...]

Postscript: Upon returning to Atlanta Saturday afternoon, I found the Elissonmobile encrusted with a thick layer of greenish-yellow pollen - this despite the fact that it had been in a covered parking area. I can only imagine what it would have looked like after three days of being parked under open skies...

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