a round of “bless you’s”: a study in sneezing and belonging

I’m not trying to sing a song of pity for myself or anything, really. but an interesting fact: when I sneeze, like, 85% of the time, no one blesses me. not in group settings, not on solo dates. ever since my induction into Western society and since learning that blessings are given out to sneezers to cover for their moment of vulnerability, I’ve just noticed that people around me just don’t respond to my achoos with that knee-jerk benediction.

superstitious? yeah. still kinda sweet? also yeah. but, like I said, like 85% of the time, I don’t get blessed for my sneezes.

not that I need it; I seem to be getting by okay without those explicit blessings to cover me. I’m not bitter about it or anything — wow, there’s a sentence I’ve never before said non-sarcastically — it’s really okay. it’s just interesting to think about WHY people seem so stingy with those blessings for my sneezes.

after literal years of pondering this, the only conclusion I’ve got is that my sneezes must not be that disruptive. they just don’t ripple through a social atmosphere and remind people loudly enough to bless me. it’s not like the blessing nazis are out to get me, and it’s not like certain people bless me more or bless me less — the most benevolent explanation is the most reasonable here.

all that to say: on Tuesday this week, I had a meeting at work where I sneezed in the middle of the meeting and the room and was greeted with a surprisingly full chorus of “bless you’s” from all round the room. it was nice. and surprising. and thought provoking.

cause it was probably a combination of all of the following: the fact that I was sitting squarely in the middle of the conference table. the fact that I had recently and majorly participated in the conversation. the fact that we were all Asian Americans, and I was seen and heard and recognized in a way that only really happens in that special overlapping sliver of Asian and American societies.

all of those things, in concert, rained down on me that smattering of blessings that showered and covered and fell all around me. a big deal, but also not.


edit: 10/27/16

I swear, it’s like everyone at work read this post. like 9 out of 10 sneezes today were blessed. what is going on? slash I am sneezing a lot. maybe it’s the changing of the seasons. blip bloop.

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