Ocean City, Part Deux: Beer Allergies! D-:
I spoke too soon when I said summer had arrived because, yesterday on the beach, the sun went in and the wind kicked up, and it was quite chilly actually. Then it was a cool evening; Bobby went out in just a T-shirt and was cold at various points in the evening. Bobby did get some decent surfing in after the lifeguards went in when the wind very briefly died down. (Wind off the sea flattens the waves and makes for poor surfing. I didn't know that!) I was hoping that he'd finally taken up a hobby that I could support him in without freezing my ass off (as with hockey and snowboarding), but it seems I have to wait till later in the summer for that to be the case.
We went to supper at Shenanigan's Irish Pub last night on 4th Street, then walked down the Boardwalk to the Inlet. We rode the Freak-Out, which is a smaller and therefore much more intense version of The Claw in Hershey Park. Because it is smaller, it swings higher and faster and spins faster.
I am not a publicly demonstrative person when it comes to emotion. I do not tend to show fear or sadness when others can see. Nor do I show a lot of noisy joy, so I'm not a whooper or a cheerer or anything like that. If I were to win a large sum of money at, say, a casino, I would be a disappointing person to feature as a winner. But on this ride? I shriek and cackle like a madwoman. Which in turn cracks Bobby up. But the ride is intense, and I say that as a person who has never met a ride she won't try. I reached a point last night where I wasn't sure which direction was up. I think I come by it honestly, as my mom--also not particularly emotionally demonstrative in public--used to be hilarious on thrill rides, to the point that a ride operator once kept us on the Tilt-a-Whirl for about ten minutes because he was cracking up at my mom.
After Freak-Out, we went out on the fishing pier, but it was too chilly to stay out for long, then walked up the Boardwalk. We wanted to try the new microbrewery that opened, the Backshore Brewing Company. I ordered the stout and Bobby the brown ale. Oh my, the stout was divine, with a strong taste of coffee and milky smooth. I have had allergic reactions twice to craft beers--once the oatmeal stout at Mountain State Brewing Company in Deep Creek and once to a chocolate stout from a microbrewery in Colorado--so especially with stouts, I have developed the habit of taking a good swig and meditating for a minute on the deliciousness as I wait to see if I start to itch. I did this with my stout last night and nothing happened, so I drank it slowly to make it last while Bobby finished his brown ale and went back to try the black IPA.
I also tried his brown ale (we are very much a take-one-down-pass-it-around family and will try whatever the other one orders), which was tasty, and so I also tried the black IPA. And started to itch. We end up drinking a lot of IPAs because they are always numerous on the mix-and-match shelf at College Square in Westminster, and I have never had a reaction to an IPA. I finished off my stout and figured I'd be okay since I didn't have much IPA, just a sip. I didn't even say anything to Bobby about feeling myself starting to itch. But by the time we had started to walk down to the bus stop to get the B, I was itching in earnest and starting to get congested in my nose and chest. I coughed hard a few times, which caused me to burp loudly (coughing hard being one of the only ways I can burp, but it sounds like my innards are pouring out when I do it), which was probably disturbing to anyone who overhead it. I went in my purse for a napkin--I am an inveterate collector of unused napkins at restaurants because it is amazing the number of times I end up needing them, usually for my students--but I was all out because I'd bought breakfast for one of my classes last week and wasn't given napkins in the carryout bag and so handed out what I had left in my purse.
By now, we were at the bus stop and my face felt like it was filled with water but there wasn't much I could do about that, being napkin-less. I was trying not to cough so that the whole belching-sounding-like-innards-are-comin
It was Senior Week, so when the bus arrived, it was full. People seem to have trouble understanding the concept of moving to the back of the bus to make room for people entering; quite a few times this weekend, Bobby and I would sit or stand in a near empty back of the bus while two dozen people crowded into the front half. B drivers seem to fall into two camps with respect to this: those who assume that if people are up to the line, the bus is full and won't stop for more people, and those who will sit for as long as it takes for people to figure out how to arrange themselves to maximize capacity. Our driver was in the latter camp. Normally, I do not mind this but now my face was red and burning and felt like someone had emptied a garden hose in my head, and I was standing up packed like a sardine in with about fifty Senior Week teenagers. Whenever I had to sneeze--which was often!--I sneezed into my jacket because there was pretty much no way to not sneeze on about eight people otherwise.
Finally, Bobby pushed us into the less-crowded (always!) back of the bus and found an empty seat for me, which I gladly accepted. It was about a twenty-minute trip back to the hotel and was pretty miserable.
Of all things to be allergic to! Beer!!! And not just beer but craft beer! I am going to have to start carrying blisters of Benadryl with me, since the past two times I had an allergic reaction to beer, it was to a tiny amount. I am honestly just hoping that it was the IPA and not a delayed reaction to the stout. That would have been a very late reaction--about twenty minutes!--which is not how my beer allergy usually goes down, but then, I am usually allergic to stouts and not IPAs, so ... Anyway, I hope it is not the stout because the stout was effing delicious. I've already had to give up Mountain State's oatmeal stout. Next time at Backshore, I'm going to drink a stout on its own without sampling everything else that passes in my orbit whilst keeping Benadryl handy.
It was a slightly different reaction, too, than in the past: no hives and less itching, more in the nose and less in the lungs, but much turning red and feeling hot in the face and ears. I must have looked like a maniac on that bus, bright red and sneezing into my jacket. Ah well. It was the B after midnight during Senior Week, so I almost certainly was not the weirdest thing anyone on there was going see that night.
I told Bobby that this adds an element of peril to drinking beer for me. Thankfully, it is only just three beers now out of dozens of craft beers I've tried, so I trust it to be pretty rare.
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