I was recently at the botanic garden (pictures of roses and peonies to appear on my insta soon) When I visit the New York Botanic Garden, I take the MetroNorth commuter train out of Grand Central because it is quicker and more convenient than the subway. They are currently doing repairs at the Botanic Garden station, so the train was only loading on four cars. Which means the car you enter is super crowded and you need to walk through to the back of the train. Fine. After walking through the train we started to see empty seats, but none together so our band of four needed to split up. Fine. I sat down. Fine. The women next to me said
“I have allergies to strong perfume. Heh cough heh cough heh cough.”
I looked at her incredulously. Basically, because I have an extremely light hand with scent, especially during the day and I just do a dab on my wrists. And we’re on a train car. In New York City. Which is a place known for big crowds and tight spaces. And we were heading towards Manhattan…I mean…did she think that no one in Manhattan smells?
I looked and saw another seat, so I began to get up. I may or may not have said what could be considered a snide comment, and I may or may not have made a really ugly facial gesture.
I am also going to admit that if I hadn’t seen another seat I would have said to the woman “Would you like to get past me?”
When you have an allergy or a sensitivity to something, do you move, or do you expect the “aggravator” to move?
What is the allergy protocol when you are in a crowded place?
I know the peanut issue is a big deal. And I get that: I truly do. If my kid had a peanut allergy I would not want her to be around someone with peanuts. A few of my daughters close friends have peanut allergies and I am hyper aware of what things are in the house when they come over, or if my daughter is having a birthday party at a restaurant I tell the place about a million times that there are allergies at the table. I make my daughter send ingredient lists from packaged foods to her friends before they come so I know whether or not I should serve a particular thing. My daughter is well schooled in the protocol of what to do if her friends appear to be having an attack. So I am sensitive to the issue. I am down with not bringing peanut laden food to a school event.
If I’m on an airplane, should I move because I brought nuts as a snack and my seatmate is allergic? Or should the onus be on the one with the allergy?
Should the women on the train be the one to get up and move if my Jo Malone is offending her?
I’m sensitive to the fact that people have real issues with these certain allergens. But is this a case where the individual is greater than the collective?
Should there be special accommodations for people with sensitivities and allergies? Should there be a train car for people with allergies? Separate lunch tables? Separate sections of a plane?
Or should we just ban everything that someone might have an allergy to?
Which leads me to my next point:
What if people use this as an excuse to not sit with someone?
What if the woman on the train just didn’t want to sit next to me? What if she wanted that seat to herself?
What if you don’t like that a heavy person sat next to you on an airplane? Do you pull an allergy out of the hat so that their seat is switched?
I have no known allergies to opinions, so what say you all?