In my family we are neti pot FIENDS. I cannot overstate how we adore the things. I think it was Lisa who introduced me to them, years ago, and I found the whole concept entirely appalling. I made her describe several times how you jam the spout of the pot of saline water in one nostril and the saline solution pours INTO YOUR HEAD and comes out the other side. Disgusting! "But they've been doing it for centuries," Lisa assured me.
Not for me, the crazy crunchy-club stylings of a mystic-eastern-obsessed new age sensibility. I liked my alka-selzer plus cold medicine. I liked my thera-flu.
But as the years ticked by and I got busier and being laid out on the couch for days at a time seemed less and less appealing, and I became more prone to persistent sinus infections, and - the last straw - the Alka Selzer people quit making the good stuff and marketed only the lame-ass version that didn't give you any kind of decent buzz, I finally got desperate enough to give it a try.
The first time was weird. I locked myself in the bathroom with the same sense of apprehension and embarrassment as the first time I shaved my legs with my dad's pilfered razor a thousand years ago. I couldn't believe it would work. And yet...with only a flash of a weird sensation up there behind the eyeballs, the liquid came dribbling out the other side.
Fascinating! I actually felt proud of myself as I watched this strange process in the mirror. I'd had the little weird throat tickle that signals an oncoming cold, and as soon as I was finished with my first eight ounces of saline, it already felt better. Placebo effect, I was sure, but then...I didn't get sick.
I'm not one of those who use the thing every day during cold season, but I made a beeline for it every time I felt the least bit sniffly. And I kept not getting sick. An entire year went by - no sick days. Then it was two. I would have made it three whole years, but last august I went on a camping trip and DIDN'T BRING THE POT. And I got sick as all get out.
Since the beginning, I've nagged my family to try this thing. My brother was the first convert, though I doubt it was my influence - those Brookline people kind of swing that way so he had lots of other people convincing him too. But then my Dad got hooked. It took us a year to Judy, my Dad's wife, on board, but once she neti'd she was sold. The only holdout is my sister Kristen. She's got her annual cold - the same one I got every year before I converted - and it is making me nuts. Every time I see her I go into my neti speech, which usually ends with me raising my voice and telling her she's choosing to be sick when she doesn't have to (I am a terrible, terrible, sister; really, all you folks who think I'm delightful, just ask Kristen, she'll tell you the truth). My Christmas gift to Juliet this year was....oh, I suppose you can probably guess. And the worst thing is that, wrapped up in shiny paper, the little net box looked like it could be something really delightful. Perfume, perhaps, or a bracelet or something. But no. Juliet received a neti pot with a whole lotta love behind it.
I nag, and I just can't stop. Tonight we quad-teamed my sister - did I mention my kids also neti? - it was me and Junior and my dad and his wife, all begging, pleading, imploring, but most of all NAGGING poor Kristen to give it a try. Truly, I don't know how she can stand it. I would have folded, just to get us all off my back.
I only shared this tiny little corner of my nagging with you because I can't bear to face the whole truth. According to my kids, I'm a yeller, too emotional, and most definitely a nag. I'm not proud of any of it, but I can't seem to stop. I'd apologize, but the truth is that the next time I see you with the sniffles, I'm going to want to force you to neti too.