Me So Quirky, part XVI

Misty shot up an eyebrow, saying, "You know, I had a friend who did that once."

"You mean I'm not the only one?"

She was highly amused by this. "Nope. Don't think so."

"Damn. There went my claim to originality."See, I keep hearing about this human trait called "normality," and the older I get, the more I suspect I was over getting seconds and thirds from the "quirks" line when I was supposed to be getting my ration of normality with everyone else.

The end results have been quite entertaining. You think you've got quirks? Come over sometime and notice that sure, I keep a folded stadium blanket tossed over the back of the main couch, but I always fold it in such a way that you can never read the entire word (my high school's name) printed on it. It's not out of embarrassment, or lack of pride in the school I attended.

It's the logo. True, I avoid wearing clothing with logos on them, but I think I'm probably the only person whose logo-aversion goes so far that she deliberately folds her high-school blanket sideways to avoid displaying a full word on her couch.

Can't explain it, really. I just find it very odd and very disconcerting to have a word blared at me from my own couch. My couch is supposed to demurely accept the crumbs and cat fur we rub into it as part of its life - not serve as in-house corporate (or school) sponsorship.

There isn't a drug to combat this; I've checked. Still, this wasn't what Misty was referring to.

Ever heard of the photic sneeze reflex? Neither had I. All I knew was that, for as long as I could remember, my body's response to sudden, bright sunlight was an involuntary sneeze. Bizarre, no? I'd walk outside to get the mail on an otherwise-normal afternoon, and as soon as I stepped off the front porch, my eyes would squint and my nose would tighten up and -

achoo! I would greet the world by sneezing on it.

On our way to see one of Cirque du Soleil's Atlanta performances of Varekai, we stopped at the Shrine Of Southern Worship that is Krispy Kreme. After celebrating our excitement about seeing human acrobatics by eating our weight in Regular Glazed Originals, we waddled back out to our cars and headed to the venue.

I rode with Brian, who found a shady spot between an overgrown hedge and a Stupid Useless Vehicle. By the time that we parked and tucked away phones and wallets, our friends were by the car and waiting for us. I got out of the car, walked into the sunlight, and promptly sneezed, to the great amusement of my friends.

After everyone had a good chuckle on my account, Misty said that she was absolutely positive that I was crazy, but just not on this particular issue. She thought it might have something to do with my ultra-pale skin and eye colors. I spent about thirty minutes dazzled by the idea of not being the only human so genetically bizarre that they would sneeze in response to sunlight, and then saw Varekai. All thoughts of silly sneezers left my head, to be replaced with that crashing, booming, heart-pounding theme song.

Took me two weeks to think of the sneeze bits again. A few minutes and a few bits of googlism later, I discovered the term "photic sneeze reflex" and very nearly did a jig in my chair.

I may be insane; not to mention warped on many psychological and genetic levels - but I am not alone.

Somehow, that's comforting.

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-blink- That's really weird, Amy. Even for you. Who am I to talk, though? I am, of course, the person incapable of speaking for longer than twenty seconds without diverging on at least one tangent. What was I talking about again?

I have sneeze-fu. :D

/me groans You also have a defense for the inevitable interrogations that you'll get for all the anti-American stuff you post on your site, Amy. The Homeland Security folks will put bright lights in your face, and you can sneeze on them and then run away.

A friend of mine back in elementary school would get nosebleeds if he looked at the sun. I think he has you beat.

There is nothing more comforting than finding a name for the quirky things we do. :)

You are not alone, indeed - yes, I too have that "photic sneeze reflex." ;) It ALWAYS happens whenever I go from relative dimness into bright sunlight, without fail (and my body never deems it fit to sneeze merely once or even twice; they always come in threes). Of course, I tended to think that it was somehow related to my spending most of my adult life locked away from the world in a room with no sunlight in it - but now that I see you have the same thing, I realise my body must have developed that quirk quite independently of that... and knowing that gives me a strange comfort. ;) (And, for good measure, I've also got strong logo-aversion; the only logo I've ever worn or displayed with relative ease is my "Powered By Greymatter" T-shirt.)

My mom has that issue, too, Ames. She always claimed she was allergic to the sun. *twitch* The thought of you and my mom *twitch* having the same oddity, though, *twitch* is making me *twitch* twitch.

Kat, the thought of your mom alone makes me twitch. ;)

You're a computer person, hence allergic to sunlight.

I sneeze in the sun, too. Was told it is because I have blue eyes or somesuch. *shrug*

I do that to. I seem to remember hearing about it when I was younger and picking up that it was a fairly normal thing. Maybe in my mind I just made it normal to keep from seeing myself as wierd. But you are most definitely not alone.

Ha! No wonder I always felt so comfortable around the Huntsville crew. Sun-sneezers, all of you. :) Jess - from what little reading I did, supposedly it's going to be more common in blond-haired, blue-eyed people, but that they aren't actually linked. Supposedly the genetic quirk that causes sun-sneezing is recessive, and if you've got pale skin and blond/red hair and blue eyes, you're a bucket of recessive genes anyway. I still find it excruciatingly funny that this genetic bit exists in the first place. The depth of humor in the field of genetics....impressive.

Don't you mean recessive?

Well, it can't be blue eyes, because I also have the "Photic Sneeze Reflex". (Jowilson! With Photic Sneeze Reflex!) I never noticed that I was different and thought everyone did it, until... well, I either read something online about it, or it came up in a biology class about inherited traits. It's very pronounced in the winter, when you go from indoors to BRIGHT SUNLIGHT REFLECTING OFF SNOW AAAAAA WHITE LIGHT WHITE LIGHT SNEEEEZE! ah. It's actually rather cathartic.

This group is beginning to make me feel downright normal. ;)

I was in the same boat, as for years as I would leave the house in the morning on bright sunny days leaving for school/work and I would have a good sneezing fit the first time the sun hit my face. But I never thought much of it apart thinking that I was freak!! That was until I heard about the above mentioned condition talked about on a national radio science show. It was a great relief to here Dr Karl (aussie science guru) describing a condition that for years I never thought of a condition at all. Now I merrily sneeze away in the morning with no fear, apart from the mornings when the first rays of sun I feel are when I'm on may way to work on my motorbike!!!

You know, I thought I was the only one. Untill I read your sneeze-post. Feel much better now, will remember you the next time I sneeze. :>

Hey, that was me, not Misty! My friend Michael did that every time he stepped into the light., no, not that light.

Aha ! Fellow photic sneezers ! I know how it is, Amy! People always asked me why I sneezed whenever I came out into the sun (and, yes, especially when reflected off snow, a real hasard while driving!), so I have been collective material on this peculiarity for years. It's now on : . In fact, the site is very much a collective effort : those who have the reflex find it fascinating. Have a look ! Next step is to make it interactive. Martin

I've been aware of my "talent" since I began winning bets off my friends that I could look up at the sky and make myself sneeze. Only my long-time friends knew better than to take me up on it. Alas, too many people know too much nowadays, thanks to the Internet. I can't even scare up the cost of a drink from a water fountain, much less enough for a double scoop ice cream cone.

Well it is definetly nice knowing one is not alone!, let me as well tell you that it can not be the eyes nor the hair, because i am a mexican whose hair and eyes are brown. I had read of this before and it was referred to as The ACHOO syndrome, described by H.H.Morris, in 1987. (reference from Weisse A.B., Medical Odysseys) but maybe the "photic sneeze reflex" is more accurate for it is not a "syndrome".