Mario Villalobos

September 2022

Clean Air

  • Journal

Earlier this year, I learned that I had allergies.

In fact, I have had allergies for years, but I just didn’t know it. All those times where I felt like peeling my face off? Allergies. All those times where my nose would not stop running? Allergies. All those times where my throat closed tight and I had trouble breathing? Allergies. I didn’t know they were allergies because they felt like a regular sickness, just slightly… different.

And the way I found out I had allergies was silly. I was at work, and I started to feel “sick.” I told my friend about it, letting her know that I was probably going to go home early, and she nonchalantly asked me, “Maybe you have allergies?” I told her my symptoms, and she nodded and said, “Yep, sounds like you have allergies. I have allergies, too. Claritin helps.” Claritin, huh? Fortunately, she had some, so she gave me a tablet of it—those kinds that dissolve quickly in your mouth—and within a few minutes, I started to feel so much better.

Turned out, I had allergies all along, and some over the counter medicine cured me right up.

Fast forward to the summer. It was the middle of fire season, and the smoke was terrible. The photo above isn’t of the lunar eclipse that happened earlier this week. No, I took this photo back in September, and the moon looked red because of all the fire smoke in the air. The fire smoke helped me take a cool picture of the moon—one of my favorite subjects—but it didn’t help with my breathing.

Neither did Claritin or any other allergy medicine.

The air was so bad that I could taste it, and all it did was bring unneeded stress to my already stressed life. So, like I usually do, I started talking to a friend about it. I mentioned to her that I was thinking of buying an air purifier, and I wanted to know her opinion. She is a nurse, and she said that yes, an air purifier would definitely help. No more needed to be said.

I bought the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Air Purifier with an extra filter, and I’ve had it running non-stop in my home since September. Fire season has long been over, but the utility of this device has more than paid for itself. My home simply feels fresh every time I come home from work, and I can literally breathe easy as I go through my day. I feel safe with this device always filtering the air and pumping out clean air. I know that’s silly, but I do.

If I could marry it, I would definitely marry—okay, now it’s getting silly. But having something I like that brings actual value to my life makes me feel like the only proper response to it is to be silly.

And I feel silly. Enough to dance like nobody’s watching.