Purple’s Allergy

drearty m,yunm

Sorry I haven’t written for a while but I had a slight accident whilst playing tiddlywinks and broke both my arms and both my wrists and all my fingers  –  and you can see what happens when I try typing Dear Mum with my big toe! Anyway, I’m fine now and everything seems to be working ok once again.

I like chocolate. I always have. I usually keep some in the fridge but these days I hardly ever touch it. I can happily see it sitting there in the fridge, week after week, screaming “Eat me, eat me!” and not be in the slightest bit tempted. It’s been that way for years.

So why do I always keep some in the fridge? Good question. Don’t really know the answer, anymore than I know why I always keep a bottle of champagne in the fridge too. A habit, I suppose, going back a long way; my fridge would look empty to me without them.

I also keep it there because about twice a year I get cravings for chocolate, and I always indulge it. It only lasts a couple of days and then I’m back to being totally ambivalent about it. I’ve no idea what causes the craving, but I’m sure it’s just the body’s way of telling me that it’s short of some vital ingredient  –  probably lecithin in the case of chocolate.

It’s the same with milk. I have the occasional bowl of cereal, or White Russian, and I use milk for cooking every now and then, but that’s it. I never take it in tea or coffee, and I never drink it neat. But as with the chocolate, every once in a while I get a craving for milk and drink pints and pints of the stuff over the course of a few days. There was one such episode during September. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

There’s an interesting by-product of my milk consumption. I sussed out that milk was the cause of it a few years ago. Whenever I overindulge my milk craving, I’m consumed by the constant urge to scratch my back. You can always tell when I’m on a milk binge because I’m forever leaning against door posts and doing an impression of Baloo the bear. It must be a mild allergy of some sort.

At around the same time as I was consuming a whole milk-float’s worth a day, I did in fact pick up some sort of allergy. The tips of my fingers became very sore. Painfully so. I assumed that milk was the connection so I stopped drinking it. My craving had passed anyway.

But the allergy continued.

It’s usually fairly easy to backtrack and work out what different products have entered your life since just before an allergy started. In this instance, the only thing that I could narrow it down to was a different brand of washing-up liquid.

The proof of any theory is in prediction and outcome, so if I reverted to the previous brand and the allergy disappeared, then that must be it. Accordingly, I set forth from my apartment to seek out my previous brand. If only I knew what it was! But I was sure I’d recognise it.

Digressing from the washing-up liquid for a moment, I stopped off at the bakery on the way. The goodies are all on display and you help yourself and put the required item in a small cardboard tray provided for the purpose. So I picked up a jammy doughnut and a loaf of wholemeal bread and went to the checkout counter.

Can I have this sliced pleased?

Of course”, said the girl. “Which one?

The question threw me slightly, but after only a moment’s hesitation I handed her the doughnut!

Now it was her turn to look confused. But she soon saw the funny side and burst out laughing whilst taking the loaf of bread to the slicing machine.

I have absolutely no idea what was going through her head that caused her to ask the question in the first place, but it occurred to me later that maybe the slicing machine has different thickness settings, and she was merely inquiring as to whether I wanted it thick, medium or thin.

So I asked next time I was in there if the machine had different settings, but apparently not. So her question, “Which one?” will just have to remain one of life’s little mysteries.

Back to the detergent. I went to the small supermarket/kiosk where I was sure I must have bought it and perused the several different brands on display until I spotted one that I recognised. That must be it.

The deal was done and I returned to the apartment to consume the previously-purchased jammy doughnut, accompanied by a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee. Then it was time to try out the washing-up liquid! Not that I expected instant results, you understand, but I was keen to make a start.

I suppose it should have occurred to me that there was a very valid reason why I recognised the brand of washing-up liquid on the supermarket shelf. Because as you’ve rightly guessed, it was exactly the same one that I was already using. The one which I reckoned was causing the allergy.

Anyone who knows me will know that such stupidity is nothing new. My life is riddled with such occurrences. But as I’ve explained before, I do menial tasks on autopilot whilst thinking about greater issues. All geniuses do! So mistakes such as this are very common.

No matter. The shop’s only five minutes away. All I had to do was take it back and change it.

So why didn’t I?

Why did I use up the existing bottle and then go on to use the bottle that I’d just purchased when I was sure that it was guilty culprit?

I have no explanation. Another of life’s little mysteries, and needless to say, the allergy got worse.

The strange thing was that I got so used to the allergy as a way of life that I stopped thinking of it as a problem. I could have used rubber gloves of course, but real men don’t do that! You never know who’s going to catch you wearing them and assume you have a fetish of some sort…

So when the washing-up liquid was about to run out and I was once again in the supermarket perusing the shelves, the furthest thing from my mind was that I needed to find that original brand.

My only motivation in choosing the washing-up liquid was that I’ve always been the total opposite of brand conscious. I hate buying the same brand of anything twice in a row. I think it’s probably something to do with always wanting to try something new in case it turns out to be better than what I was using before. The only problem with that policy is that you never arrive. You never reach your final, utopian choice. The grass is always greener…

Anyway, I selected a bottle of washing-up liquid purely on the merits of its colour. It was a beautiful, deep shade of purple. A new experience. And it was a BOGOF. Even better.

The allergy thing surfaced in my memory on the way home. I was supposed to have looked for that original brand! Oh well. No matter. At least I’d bought something new to try. Two of them in fact!

Except of course that they turned out to be exactly the same one that I already had, that was probably causing the allergy. Same brand  –  same colour! Same stupidity!

I was speechless when I got home and realised what I’d done. Being a genius isn’t always easy!

But you’ll be pleased to know that this time I took them back and changed them for a leading brand of a very acceptable aqua blue liquid. Not going to mention its name. No unpaid, product placement on here! Suffice it to say that there may be a clue in the stamp!

And I’m delighted to say that the allergy has virtually disappeared now.

A happy ending!


©MPB 05/November/2007


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