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A weekend with a photic sneezer (M)


atchoum

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I have given accounts of weekends spent with a friend of mine who is the best photic sneezer I know – or at least the best in my circle of friends. This must be the third or fourth instalment of an obs of him over a weekend, but I think it’s worth retelling.

His sneezes are very particular. Often almost unvoiced, they are nevertheless quite violent, and send him bending double or almost falling over at times. They sound like TTTSSSSCHHHH eeeeuwww! With a high pitched sound at the end when they are voiced, but sometimes it’s just TTTSSSSCHHHHHe!

The first observation from this weekend though was on the Friday when we had come to a town içn Burgundy and had just sat down at an open air restaurant for lunch, in summerlike heat. The table next to us was occupied by a group of Australians, mostly middle aged or more, but a couple in their early twenties at the end. Just as we sat down I heard a very classical ‘achoo’ sneeze, and I wasn’t sure whether it was the man or the woman of the couple, as I couldn’t see and it didn’t sound either very masculine or very feminine. During the meal I noticed that this man (nice suntan, dark glasses but otherwise unremarkable), blew his nose a couple of times. Eventually when I happened to be looking in that direction I saw this chap sneeze without any warning, quite openly, but not strongly – very little body movement to it, in the sort of sexless way he had before. But then he started winding up for a second sneeze, which took some time to materialize, much like the first. More open mouth expectation, but he stifled the third sneeze. He eventually sneezed a fourth time, this time openly, after quite a long wait, and blew his nose at length. That was almost the end of luch so there were no more sneezes out of suntanned Aussie. I had expected a more virile sneeze I must say, but that’s stereotypes for you.

After lunch we went to look at some of the old buildings, and my friend started his usual pattern of sneezing each time we came out into the sun – it only takes him 5 seconds, and he is dashing about, as if propelled by his sneezes. Over the weekend he seemed to be doing doubles most of the time, but at one stage he did four, the last two not really being quite sneezed out – he would get up to the ahh and not get the choo. On a couple of occasions there was only a single, but generally, if the contrast in light was strong enough, you can count on at least two sneezes.

I saw eight of these for a total 23 sneezes. By comparison, I had two photic sneezes over that whole period, both singles.

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How lovely to have such a reliable friend! There is something quite compelling, I find, in the combination of a physically violent but largely unvoiced sneeze . . . perhaps it's the aesthetic contrast. I also enjoyed your description of the sneeze-androgyny.

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Wow - what an awesome weekend! Your friend sounds adorable. Bet you couldn't concentrate on the old buildings with him sneezing all over the place like that... yummy!

The Aussie sneezer was an interesting one, too. How lucky you happened to be looking ... :drool:

Thanks for a great obs!

cyberhugs

juliette

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Wonderful observations as usual, Atchoum! Just a few questions. Does your photic sneezing friend ever comment on his regular photic sneezing? Does he seem comfortable with it? I'm not a regular photic sneezer, but occasionally going from a darker place into the sun will, like you, produce a single.

I'm not sure I've ever sneezed a double from that. When you photic sneeze is it like your other sneezes, or does the sunlight make it more forceful?

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Wonderful observations as usual, Atchoum! Just a few questions. Does your photic sneezing friend ever comment on his regular photic sneezing? Does he seem comfortable with it? I'm not a regular photic sneezer, but occasionally going from a darker place into the sun will, like you, produce a single.

I'm not sure I've ever sneezed a double from that. When you photic sneeze is it like your other sneezes, or does the sunlight make it more forceful?

Good to hear from you Ringsfan.

He never comments on his sneezing, but he is obviously not at all embarrassed by them, and really lets himself go. His sneezes are somehow slightly uncoordinated - he gets the ahh... out and the very high pitched TSCHEEEW seems to have some trouble kicking in.

Interesting question too about whether photic sneezes are more forceful than others, one I had never thought about. I think it may be the opposite in me, photic sneezes usually aren’t very strong, whereas a lot of my ordinary sneezes are.

A thought. As you keep track of your sneezes (and I don’t think there are many of us who do), why not participate in Lamborghini’s sneeze count. That applies to everyone – the more there are, the more interesting it will be. I discovered from last month that only 6 of my 61 sneezes are photic, so only about 10%.

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