Because Me.

| September 25, 2015

Yesterday was a reminder of why I shouldn’t be left alone, ever, to take care of myself. Thank God Paul and I aren’t a divorcing couple fighting for custody, because my blog is Exhibit A of why I am unfit to take care of another human being. Also, I should not have watched the Mindy Project last night.

So there I was, making salsa for this husband of mine. I say for my husband because never, ever would I put hot peppers in anything for myself. “Mild” is as high as I go on the heat index, so my salsa typically is free of hot peppers. But for my dear husband, I sometimes add a little heat.

Last night’s was such a dinner.

I chose one of the hot peppers–a yellow one–and chopped it up. I added it to the salsa and moved on to the onions. While I chopped the onions, my eyes began to tear up. I removed my glasses, which often helps. A minute later, my eyes were completely watering, which was making it hard to see. I reached up with my right hand and pressed my thumb onto one eye and my index finger onto the other.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I had not washed my hands after handling the hot peppers.

The following should be taken as advice of both what, and what not, to do when you stick hot peppers into your eye.

What happened next was…animated. I began shrieking and running around, waving my hands back and forth, vigorously and unhelpfully. I began to fear that the neighbors would call the police, so I tried to keep the scream to a whisper-scream. It was difficult.  Also, I realized that I had, in fact, been able to see when chopping onions, whereas now I really couldn’t see.

Then I made a really, really bad decision. I ran across the house to the living room, and held my eyelids open in front of a standing fan.

HOLY SHITBALLS. The fan was blowing fire into my eyeballs. I began shrieking again.

I ran back into the kitchen. It is no small miracle that I did not crash into walls and doorways, what with my eyes being closed. I had a moment of clarity, pounded the counter in search of the soap, and washed my hands thoroughly.

puffy eyes hot pepper in the eye


Then I began splashing water up into my eyes. They continued to burn. Like, BURN. Meanwhile, I realized that I was expecting the washing machine repair guy at any minute. This caused me only to freak out more. I wondered if I should pour milk into my eyes. I thought it was probably a dumb idea and instead grabbed some paper towels and made a cold compress. My eyes were still on fire. As in, the pain was not subsiding, not even a little bit.  In fact, my forehead was beginning to feel numb.  Clearly I was about to die.

I grabbed my phone and attempted to type in “hot pepper in my eyes,” which proved difficult because I could not open my eyes to see the keyboard. I placed the phone on the counter, used my left hand to pry and hold my left eyelid apart, and used my right hand to mash at the keys. A search result suggested: pour milk into my eyes.

I ran to the fridge, then debated whether to use the whole milk or the lactose-free milk–a mental debate that cost me at least 2 seconds of relief. I took the whole milk to the sink, poured it onto a small glass, and began pouring it into one eye, then the other, then back and forth 3 times. Suddenly, the searing pain stopped. My eyes were stinging, crying, and dripping with milk, but I was no longer dying.

And the doorbell rang.  Eyes puffed up, I answered the door.  Throughout my conversation with the repairman, I was holding back tears.  Eventually, though, everything cleared up.  At dinner there was an intense moment when the salsa passed my face, but otherwise things appeared to be back to normal.

But the story does not end here.

Later in the evening, Paul and I went to bed. We were excited to find that the Mindy Project had started back up on Hulu. Turned it on, started watching. The end of this season’s Episode 1 made me cry. Only, I didn’t just cry. I cried hot pepper tears, which turned into a squealing, freaking out cry.

My husband, laughing at me, quipped, “Get down on your knees.” Because, gotta love the man, he read the Alaska chapter of my book.



Tags: , ,

Category: In Germany A Broad blog, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.