One day in late June, I thought it would be a great idea to go for a run, so I did, came back, and cooled down with some yoga. About half an hour later, I noticed that I was starting to get tunnel vision. No, I thought, impossible. I’ve already had two migraines this year. Didn’t my brain get the memo?

It had not. I took some meds and went to sleep, angry that my body’s response to normal strain was to scream like a petulant child. I don’t think it was the running per se, but I was dehydrated and still jet-lagged, and the run couldn’t have helped.
Today after staying up late I spent five hours on the water, wakeboarding and drinking a minimal amount of liquid, every inch of my skin covered with cloth or sunscreen. I believe I was the only person on the boat not to get fried. But then, after spending the rest of the day working on my yard and biking to a friend’s house, I noticed once again the sudden onset of tunnel vision. I informed my friends that I was about to get a migraine, and spent the next hour lying in a hammock with my jacket over my head, emerging to down Excedrin and about half a liter of Club Soda and lime juice. I am assuming this was my brain protesting the day’s sunlight-dehydration combo.

Still, a “normal” brain would not have cared too much. Both times, my fatigue, solar exposure and lack of hydration were within reasonable boundaries. I wonder how in the world I could have survived as a peasant-farmer who was expected to work in the blazing sun all day.

There’s a reason my little brother claims I am actually a vampire: I avoid direct exposure to the sun to the point that I stay pale all year round. This in spite of the fact that I like outdoor sports. My body can handle them (to a point), but my brain may not. Since I was a kid, I have gotten migraines while running, while playing softball, and while driving out to go hiking. But I am stubborn, and I insist on doing something besides sitting inside all the time.

I wonder, too, why super-sensitivity to temperature change and sunlight and smell and food and so on is present in the genetics of my ancestors. There’s got to be some advantage. Well, sure there is. I’ve probably benefited from it as much or more than I’ve lost from it… super-sensitivity has made me take steps that prevent skin cancer, has kept me from over-eating sugar-filled foods and made me avoid too much of any chemical substance, from caffeine to aspartame to MSG to alcohol. It’s even made me avoid stressful situations and polluted airspaces.

On a side note, I bet that ancient people really did suspect migraine-sufferers of vampirism, given their hatred of pungent smell, light, and many other irritants. The migraine-suffers may have also attacked them tooth and nail for being so offensive, especially if they had no medication. Even today I wanted to punch everyone who was talking too loudly. The migraine-sufferers may have also been uncommonly youthful (read: svelte and un-sunburned) due to their particular sensitivities.