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.”

Not fine.

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?”

Because:

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.

But

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?

 

 

132 thoughts on “Can You Not Sit There?

  1. I am surprised. It takes all sorts to make the world- perfume allergy???
    I think the deal is onus is on the person who has the disease in a public transport system. They accommodate or they move.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A friend’s daughter has a wheat allergy hence it’s a must she eats a gluten free diet, and I can understand why her school bans all food containing nuts, they’re dangerous health issues. But perfume? You should have told her to ‘blank’ off!! 😂😂

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  3. I travel almost exclusively on public transportation, unless I can get a friend to be generous. But I don’t ask very often. I’ve run into all types. If you don’t want to sit next to me, then move. I’m not gonna. If I don’t want to sit next to someone for some reason, I’M the one who should move. Especially if they were there first. But I’ll probably stay in my seat. If they have allergies, they should remove themselves from the allergen or not. Its up to them. I’m allergic to cats but I CHOOSE to own one. In regards to children with allergies? They are CHILDREN who generally aren’t old enough to know what to do in a situation, so they rely on adults to do what’s best. As they get older, they learn to keep themselves safe.

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  4. Oh my, I see controversy here. Some will claim this scenario deals with human “rights” as in everyone has the god given right to breath clean, non-allergenic air. I’m afraid, if you actually look at the list of human rights, clean air isn’t in there so we’re talking more privilege than right.
    Is it considerate for the person wearing scent to move, if that’s possible- yes. Are you required to- I think no. I think moving and adjusting have to go both ways.
    Quite honestly, in the case you describe, while the smell may have been “unpleasant” for that woman, unless she needed an inhaler to breath next to you, or was going into true anaphylaxis and needed an epipen, then should could have moved herself. You were the considerate one in this scenario!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well….I was considerate in deed only….my mind was not so considerate. But this is becoming a real issue now, and it’s difficult to address because which side do you take?

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      1. I get that… turn the other shoulder thing-give in-be the bigger person… or stake your claim to a perfectly open seat and let the other person deal with it.
        This is one where there will never be a clear cut line so I suppose you do what you believe to be right in the moment and look like a saint…or something else!

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      2. Well, it turned into my friends sniffing me and declaring the woman crazy because I was virtually “clean” smelling. But I just don’t know anymore what the line is

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  5. Years ago (yep this fragrance thing has been an issue for a long time) I registered for a couture sewing class. Info on supplies needed, etc were distributed beforehand and a note of ‘rules.’ Strict guidelines written by the instructor for the non-use of fragrance of any sort because she had a perfume allergy. Okay, I’m an Earth Mama – only use fragrance intentionally and occasionally. But I do use shower gels…heavenly scented shower gels -ya know?
    I forgot she told us no deo or shower gels before class…and darn if she smelled each of us as we entered the classroom to declare, “you didn’t follow my rules”. I was told to sit way at the back – and yes, she did turn other ‘offenders’ away…
    Okay, I get it, but maybe the lady shouldn’t be teaching?????

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Right? I mean….you can’t control what everyone smells like. There are certain foods and spices that sleep through…..where and what is the line? Should you need to buy special soap and shampoo and hair product and make up and lotion because someone might be sensitive to it? I mean…what defines natural scent?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh and then there is that…the European way (at least Italian, my background) of no deo…and ya know, when the body is weaned off of deo, it tends to regulate itself into an okay scent…well sort of!
        😉

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Ohhh, I get this issue. Both sides. I have pretty severe allergies but I would never ask someone to move. I might cough loudly and such but would never say anything. If it was too bad I would remove myself.

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    1. In my mind, the person with the sensitivities moves. I know it’s hard to have allergy issues, but I could never inconvenience someone else if the issue were mine

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  7. I’ve lived with this my whole life and it is irritating. The grad party I hosted, I ordered pizzas to make it easy for me. My rule of thumb is if I do the cooking or order food and you can’t eat it, bring your own. I can’t cater to everyone’s special diet. If it was a severe peanut allergy that would be different, but it’s not.

    Growing up my autistic brother’s violent outbursts where blamed on allergens. I understand how frustrating it can be to the extreme. I believe it is the allergic person’s responsibility to reduce their exposure to allergens. They shouldn’t expect everyone to cater to them.

    Also, I never understood why peanuts would be offered as a snack on planes with so many people being severely allergic. Seems dangerous and a huge liability.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The whole issue has become a hot button topic. While I sympathize with those who have allergies, how many concessions are to be made? My daughter doesn’t eat beef, pork or chicken, and I told her she better deal with that when she goes to peoples houses. It’s not their job to cater to her diet. And if I’m cooking for a holiday my daughter gets to eat sides because I only have so much time and spAce

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  8. I stopped wearing perfume years ago, other than a few occasions, back when hospitals went scent-free. But I miss it, as I used to love to wear fragrance and had a signature one that I enjoyed and others always commented on. (Ombre Rose – it was a light floral similar to baby powder). So many places are scent-free now that I often wonder who buys all those bottles of expensive perfume on display in stores? Now I find if I put it on, it’s too strong. The less exposed you are to something, the more sensitivity you have. That lady was rude to comment on it as it was a temporary thing on a subway/in a public place. If you were working together everyday, then that’s different, then it’s okay to bring it up. (Some people say strong scents trigger their migraines). If it bothered her that much, she should have moved. Same as if you’re at the theatre and someone reeks of some horrible scent – you’re stuck for awhile, the person can’t exactly go and wash it off, so after awhile you just don’t notice it. While I agree with the peanut issue, I find many people with their “allergies” confusing – they visit a naturopath and all of a sudden they are allergic to sugar, wheat, eggs, dairy, gluten – so you stop inviting them over for supper/lunch, as what to you feed them? It takes the fun out of entertaining.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It begins to take the fun out of everything. But your point is correct…you have tickets to something, the people on either side of you are wearing scent. What do you do? Are we going to take away peoples rights to smell the way they want to because it might offend or be bad for someone else?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ha! When your reluctant seat mate said, ““I have allergies to strong perfume,” I would have been tempted to say “So do I!” and begin coughing more loudly and longer than she did. Then I would’ve said, “That’s why I always wear a nice light scent,” wave my offending wrist under her nose and exclaim, “Don’t you just love Joe Malone?” 😈 Sorry, but people with this degree of sensitivity/fragility should just stay home. They are too delicate to be out in public with the rest of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s gotten to a point where everyone is completely out for themselves, and expect to be catered to their proclivity. I don’t know what we do

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    2. That’s not fair to those of us who have allergies. I can tolerate normal scents but heavy handed perfumes you can smell a mile away? If you are spent g a fortune on theater tickets don’t smell up the entire row. It’s selfish. I find elderly people often lose their sense of smell so they literally reek and over do it. Rather like how the over do their blush because they can’t see how much they put on. Somebody needs to enlighten them.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. In my mind, what that woman did/said was very rude. If people have severe allergies, I do empathize with them, but I feel that it’s up to them to move or do whatever they need to work around this issue. It would be great if public places and transportation could have sections for those with these types of allergies, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well… I totally agree with your offense because I’m sure you hadn’t lathered your scent all over and, as you pointed out, IT’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT.

    To answer your question regarding allergies, I’d say it’s fair to err on the side of a peanut allergy person on an airplane. Many people are severely allergic and probably couldn’t get adequate medical attention in the air.

    I, myself, am sensitive to perfumes. I get a migraine. Still, I would not ask someone to move. I would move. And sit by a window. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  12. If I don’t like the perfume the other person is wearing, I move away. If there is no other place, I place a kerchief over my face and breathe through that.
    I have been told I wear a very strong perfume and not many like it. So if someone is having a problem, I move away if there is place. Doesn’t make a difference to me. I don’t want to hurt another person. And if I can move to a different seat, I do. Better that both of us are comfortable.
    If it is a man who tells me, I may not listen and just ignore him. For a woman, I don’t mind

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  13. I would force myself to ask her a question. “ Are you allergic?” She might have an interesting response I wasn’t expecting. Ex: “No but I have a hard time walking.” Doubtful ….but one never knows. Just asking the question though shows a moment of concern before I then say to her “oh well if there’s no allergies or health concerns I’ll respectfully ask you to move instead.”

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Mass transit is a whole other thing. She should have moved. My issue is only at theater events. I usually ignore it but sometimes someone uses a perfume that is so strong it causes a severe reaction.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I had to break this down- for me- to its simplest example.

    I get on a plane with a bag of peanuts and start munching down. The person who sits next to me informs the airline attendant that they are allergic to peanuts. There are no more seats on the plane and so now the decision has to be made as to who moves. I certainly do not feel I should be the one moving as I did nothing wrong. I didn’t break any rules by bring the peanuts on the plane and munching on them. It is incumbent on the person with the allergy to find another person who would trade seats.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Obviously I agree with you. In the case of assigned seats on a plane you should need to put down that you’re allergic because I consider it a special accommodation. Or any allergy. When you don’t know who you’re sitting next to? I don’t know

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  15. Jo Malone scents are light, tasteful, and, as you said, you use scent sparingly.
    It seems that society is becoming increasingly rude. Does no one read Emily Post anymore ? Rather than say anything to you, the person should have chosen to move, if she was truly that “sensitive”, which I doubt.
    Hope you enjoyed your visit to the gardens.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. I can so relate to this. I am allergic to strong perfumes too. They make me sneeze and trigger migraines. The worst was when my closest friend and I split the cost of season theatre tickets. She had great seats and didn’t want to lose them after her divorce so I paid half so she could keep her fabulous seats. The problem was, that the lady who had season tickets next to my seat wore strong perfume. The first show I couldn’t stop sneezing. My eyes watered, I sneezed all through the show and I disturbed everyone around me. I had to tell the woman next to me I was allergic to her perfume. I thought the next show she’d get the hint, but nope. I finally had to tell my friend to see if someone else wanted my tickets. I got sick every time I went. And the seats were so close the actors were even disturbed. So eventually she did find someone else to purchase some of the shows . I had no choice. I would take a Zyrtec before going but it wouldn’t matter. Strong perfume and smoke make me ill. I wish it were a law no strong perfume before entering the theatre. My sister snd I got tickets to the ballet and yes strong scents but nobody next to us, thankfully. My family knows when I’m around no perfume. Ugh. Hate it.

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    1. The problem is the term “strong” perfume. Define strong. In my case I put a dab of fragrance on each wrist at 9am. By 4pm, when I was on the train, how much perfume was left? I wore no product in my hair that day because I was at gardens. My hand cream had most probably been washed off in the 8 times I probably washed my hands. How much did I smell?

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  17. In regard to peanut allergies, being a teacher you have to be very careful. If I had a class and nobody had an allergy I’d allow them to bring peanut butter in as a snack but they knew they could only eat it in my room. Not the cafeteria. I thought that would be ok. However…. I was out sick one day and we got a sub who was allergic and since one kid had a snack at her desk the substitute Had a severe attack and was carried out by paramedics. Jensen, New school rule. Even if nobody in any class had allergies no peanuts at all were allowed in school. These folks can die.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In nyc kids are allowed to bring peanut products for school for personal lunch. They can’t be brought in for group things. Allergy kids have ability to eat at senate table

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  18. I’m going to play devils advocate here because I DO react horribly to almost ALL forms of perfume and colones, even a whole lot of natural scents. Lavender is on of my nemeses. I’m talking they can trigger a debilitating migraine with a potential for vomiting. When I get this, I’m out for hours and then have several days of a residual, constant headache. The older I get the worse this gets.

    Most people with this kind of an allergy are treated exactly as you’ve stated. With disdain and the attitude that it is their problem and they need to be the one to make adjustments when that is rarely a possibility or worse, that they are faking or lying about it. When I was working, there was a woman that wore a perfume that was so strong, I knew when she walked in the front of the building when I was in the back. She worked on the other side of the building, but often walked around in my area and ALWAYS refreshed her perfume in the bathroom at lunch. I cannot tell you how many times I had to leave work sick with a migraine that was triggered by her. I spoke to my bosses several times, but was made to feel like I was being ridiculous. I was a single mom at the time and didn’t have a lot of options and really could not afford to miss work. I was an hourly employee and those missed hours cost me. All because she refused to at least cut back on the perfume or not use it at work. I was put in an impossible position because someone needed to bathe in PERFUME.

    In your situation, you are the one that came in second and sat next to this woman. Why on earth would she need to be the one to get up and find a different seat? Why, especially if there were other seats available, is it so offensive to just be accommodating? Yes, I get it. It is way too easy to pull the allergy card to get away with not doing something like sitting next to someone you find offensive. But you are automatically assuming that this is the case and not that this woman had a legitimate allergy that may cause her severe distress if exposed to your even light perfume. Sometimes, people with allergies just don’t have the option to avoid the allergens. When they can’t and need to ask someone to just be nice and help them not be exposed, they shouldn’t be treated as though they asked you to kick a puppy.

    My kids’ school actually does have a couple of tables in the lunch room dedicated to those with peanut or other extreme food allergies. I’m thrilled because too many people do not take allergies seriously, especially if they’ve never experienced them for themselves. No, my allergies may not be life threatening, but they can be a whole lot more than inconvenient. They literally effect my health. Even very light scents can trigger a migraine.

    Sorry if I’m being harsh, but this is a hugely sensitive issue for me and a major sore spot. It is similar to how I feel about the attitude of some people when they see someone who looks able bodied parking in a handicapped spot. You don’t know what their disability is. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. As long as they have that sticker or tag, that is all that is needed as proof. Sadly, those of us with allergies don’t get a sticker or tag to make others understand that what we go through is real, at least not when it isn’t life threatening.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. While I appreciate your circumstance and admire you courage to play the devil’s advocate, I wonder if suggesting that interactions in public spaces, a public conveyance, should be a ride dictated by the passenger, who for now, is an anomaly makes sense. That reeks of hyper-individualism.

      For instance. I’m old enough to have watched how cigarette smokers went from being a vast majority of solid citizens to damn near outlaw outliers. Non smokers who for near a century, had to play the accommodators, saw in a generation all that go up in a puff of smoke with the Marlboro Man hacking it up in the back alley.

      The anomaly always accommodates until the majority decides how best to handle the needs of a minority. And it’s begins with a social fix. It’s the only way to run a railroad. The lady with the allergy should have moved.

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      1. In any other circumstance, the person that was sitting in a spot first, in a non-assigned seat situation, should not ever be forced to get up and move to convenience someone that came in and sat down later. Unless I’ve misunderstood the situation, the woman with the allergy was already seated. If it were the other way around and it was the woman with the allergy that sat down second, then, yes. I’d absolutely agree. It is on them to move or just not sit there in the first place. With the prevalence of people wearing scents, someone like me would be forced to spend the entirety of a ride like that continuously trying to find an unscented space if it were on me to always move when someone sat next to me.

        For me, the base issue is about just being a decent, compassionate person. You won’t always be able to accommodate someone’s request in this regard, but if you are in a position to do so and it doesn’t create an undue burden, then why not just be nice? Wearing perfume is a privilege and a choice. Having an allergy is not. I would feel horrible if I knew something I did could potentially impact another person in such a way that their physical health was effected.

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      2. So, hold the phone, Jo Malone, privileged be the perfumed. And manners move the moment, as well as any minority movement seeking recognition and redress. But that’s not what we got. We got…“I have allergies to strong perfume. Heh cough heh cough heh cough.” In other words, the new arrival is made to feel as if she is the problem. A Manhattan Typhoid Mary.

        Now if the lady with the “Heh cough” issue hadn’t been so damn lazy and so full of privilege she might have made sure that her fellow traveler was not made to feel the pariah. “ It’s not really about you Dear, it’s about me. Sometimes my allergies flair for even the subtlest of reasons, and no rhyme to it.“ And with that, mosey on away. Most likely, both parties would have come out smelling like a rose. Instead, Lady “Heh cough” chose to stink it up.

        Manners cut both ways.

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      3. I get it in theory, but in reality it doesn’t always work. Personally I could never ask someone to move if something was bothering me, I just move

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    2. I so agree with you! It should be a consideration. And just like they announce strobe lights ( They can cause seizures) to warn the audience so people who are affected can leave during that part of the show) it should be like no smoking signs. Moderate perfume is fine. But dosing the entire bottle is a another thing. It’s inconsiderate.

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    3. See, while I appreciate and understand allergies I will fully admit that I am highly sensitive to smoke and the smell of all smoke on peoples clothing. I have never asked anyone to move because they smelled. I have always moved. The only time I’ve asked people to put out cigarettes is when we’re clearly in a no smoking area. The other issue is a mass transit situation. If you are getting on a train, what is the expectation of what others smell like? I had put on a drop of fragrance on each wrist at 9 am, return train was at 4. How much fragrance was on me still? It’s a tough call, but on a Manhattan bound train, on a late Saturday afternoon, the expectation was that probably 70% were wearing some sort of fragrance. Is it reasonable to expect that no one would want to sit near you?

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      1. You made a good point about what is moderate. I suppose that’s subjective. I always was taught to use less scent in public places. I use a light airy vanilla spray when I do use cologne . But I don’t wear it when I go to the theatre because I try to be considerate of others.. however, I grew up with an asthmatic mother and brother and so I watched my mom have a horrible asthma attack on the rapid transit on our way to downtown Cleveland to go to the symphony when I was a little girl. A women’s perfume was so strong it almost killed my mother. It was traumatic to see the entire railway system shutdown as my mom wS rushed to the hospital. I was a little girl watching my mother turn blue gasping for air. So I saw first hand what strong scents can do to highly allergic people. I do not have asthma. My brother and my grandson do. It’s hereditary. Consider yourself lucky if you didn’t see people you love struggle to breath. I’m deathly allergic to mango. So I triple check at restaurants that no mango is in anything I eat. Mostly we can look out for ourselves, however sometimes we can’t.

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      2. I think in the theatre like they warn the audience about strobe lights and certain triggers that affect pace makers they should do so about scents. I personally never asked anyone to move but the people around me kept telling me to shush when I was sneezing so I had to say I’m allergic to this lady’s perfume. Her husband didn’t even offer to switch seats with me. My friend switched with me but it didn’t help much because it wafted thru the air line dynamite. The lady looked 110 and probably was clueless. Like I said I finally gave up my tickets . I probably should have gone to the ushers and said something g but we were in the orchestra section and I was embarrassed. I’ve tolerated perfume before. This lady’s was just out of control.

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      3. Last night I got to thinking….what do we do about the now prevalent use of essential oils. Many people are using them as stress relief. How does that work?

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      4. Are they still popular? I know they were years ago and I stayed away from them. I’d tell people who were trying to push them on me that I’d be more stressed if I used them and wound up in the hospital because scents bother me. In my line of work- teaching- strong scents, peanuts etc. aren’t allowed in school because of children ‘s allergies. For a while a few teachers in my school used those plug in scents in their classrooms. A parent from my school, who was an attorney, brought a lawsuit against the school siting that when his daughter went to math class she’d have an asthma attack due to scents. I taught gifted reading and language arts but every time the little girl walked into math class she couldn’t breath. I told that teacher multiple times she shouldn’t use the plug ins since I’d sneeze whenever I’d walk into her room because of the plug ins. (I don’t have asthma but the scent was still incredibly strong.). In any case, it has been scientifically proven that candles and those plug ins put carcinogens in the air which are not healthy for breathing and contain toxins. The dad took his case to the school board and candles and plug ins were out lawed in our county schools. That teacher removed her plug ins, the girl stopped having asthma attacks. What can I tell you. If he hadn’t been an attorney some kid would have suffered. As far as essential oils. Let people use them at home. Not in a public area.

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      5. They are hugely popular and gaining in popularity as an alternative healing thing. I know scads of people who use them. It’s being promoted that use decrease anxiety by using them. Whose issue is greater anxiety or allergy? You can plead to both being life threatening. We had the opposite issue here….the NYC DOE was sued to allow kids to bring peanut products for their personal consumption, and won.

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      6. Totally. In this case I believe it was decided that you couldn’t stop someone from bringing a legitimate food item fir their own consumption, and it would be impossible to monitor what kids brought in, because many things are exposed to nuts even though they contain no nuts. I believe the protocol in elementary school is to have a senate table for allergies, and in some cases the school assigns a para to monitor the food a kid is eating

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      7. In my grandkid’s school peanuts aren’t allowed. I had lunch with my grand daughter one day and without thinking I brought a peanut butter sandwich with me. I ate it and nobody had an attack. When I got home my son called and said, “Mom did you bring peanut butter to school?” I said, yeah, why? . He laughed and said his daughter whispered it to him. She was afraid I was going to get caught and sent to the principal’s office. Lol I totally forgot it was banned. I can’t believe grandma broke school rules! 😩

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    1. Foul orders might make you feel like throwing up but they don’t cause your airways to close and your throat to swell up. Stinky people don’t kill you with their stench. Strong perfumes can trigger complex migraines which are stroke like and can also cause a person to be unable to breath. Big difference.

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      1. People with Smokey clothes and such have that effect on me. So do bees. I’m highly allergic to bug bites and carry bug repellent and benedryl at all times.My husband is allergic to certain animals and has asthma. We are an allergy laden family.

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    1. See? That’s the thing. There are a thousand odors. Does anyone have the right to say something if they can’t tolerate a smell? I know if I’m offended by a smell I move

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  19. Common sense folks. Moderation goes a long way. If you are paying hundreds of dollars for tickets to a show you shouldn’t have to sit next to someone who smells like she fell into a vat of cheap perfume. A little dab will do ya. Just like you can’t wear hats and sit in front of people to block their view. If you are paying for a show you need to consider who sits next to you. Public transportation is different. You. Ant get up and move if you bought a ticket to a Broadway show.

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    1. Ok. I was just at my daughters AP art history tableau vivant in the very generic, very flat high school auditorium. I am short. I sat down. Two people probably about 10 inches taller than me sat in front of me. Did I ask them to move? No, I moved. Be bought really expensive seats to find that I’m behind someone way taller than me. Do I ask them to scotch down in the seat? And once you start talking about hats and such you have to be real careful, because what about the height if someone’s hair? Do you tell someone to change their hairstyle?

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  20. I was going to write something along these same lines, but about insecurities. If you have an issue, whatever that issue is, then I think it’s your responsibility (person with issue) to figure out what to do, especially if you’re gonna be in public. For example, if you have a perfume sensitivity, then perhaps you should wear one of those white masks.

    I also agree with some of your bloggers and think she was lying.

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    1. My mom actually used to wear a white mask at certain events because of her allergies .she carried one in her purse. I had pneumonia last year. I wore a mask out for a month after I healed because my resistance was so low.

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  21. The problem I feel stems from the fact that we have gone over the top in everything in this life, afraid of not doing the right thing or worse of been seen to do the wrong thing. But I have to agree with you about nut allergies, they are something to be feared. As for the lady twit on train, she should have moved away if her nose was that sensitive. And if you had said something to her, you would have earned a round of applause, but only if I was sitting close by.

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  22. I have never had that happen but I have sat down on public transport in Florida (not often) and if I every felt uncomfortable, I would move. I remember once switching my plane seat out of consideration for two friends wanting to sit together and getting stuck for a long 10 hour flight on the inside seat with a man who snored and leaned his head my way. I sat there glaring the entire time frozen in my seat. Never volunteer is what I learned.

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  23. No separate place now, but I think there will be. I have multiple chemical sensitivities and I recently read that the number of diagnosed cases grew by 300% in the last decade. Some 12+ percent of the US population has these problems and it will continue to get worse.

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  24. Well, I have a funny perfume story and This time I was the culprit of the terrible stench. I was a recently divorced mom with a small toddler and rushing to get dressed for a blind date after work. I had been fixed up by a friend and on the phone I hit it off with this guy who was a dentist. I went to put on a little perfume and my toddler came running up to me causing me to spill the whole bottle onto my dress. Now this was the mid or late 1970’s. I was wearing one of those Diane vonFustenberg wrap dresses and I didn’t have a lot of dressy clothing so I had to wear the dress! I used my hair dryer to dry the wet perfume and then finished styling my hair. My baby sitter arrived and didn’t mention the strong perfume smell and then came my date. He picked me up and when I got into his car he opened all his windows and started sneezing. He said, “Apparently you like to wear a lot of perfume.” I explained what had happened saying I didn’t have enough time to change. I didn’t want to tell him I had a limited dating wardrobe. Lol Meanwhile, he was a mess from my perfume . He took me to a restaurant but insisted we sit outside hoping I would air out I guess. He was polite but he kept sneezing like crazy. Needless to say after dinner he took me straight home instead of our previous plans of going to a movie. He said he had a bad sinus headache from the perfume . I never heard from him again. Lol So that’s my funny perfume story. A date gone wrong. Poor guy. I gave him a headache. Lol

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  25. I think of it as need vs want. If someone’s need (medical, etc) (without the need being met their enjoyment and experience is severely impacted, diminished or harmed) is greater than another person’s want (something that enhances their enjoyment or experience but without it they can still have enjoyment and experience), then the need wins over. For people who live with medical needs, we take steps to protect our needs so we can live a fulfilling life. For example: I use a guide dog. I need him to lead the most independent and safe life I want. A guide dog is a more effective mobility tool for me than a white cane. Because I know others can potentially have allergy needs too, I do my best to ensure he is clean, well groomed, and at a behavior that he won’t interact with others when we are out in public. If someone has a severe dog allergy I expect they understand their need and are also taking proactive steps maybe that’s using allergy meds, or washing their hands or using a mask or being hyper aware. They know how to manage their needs, I know how to manage mine, and generally we are good to go. In my experience people without allergies that actually meet the ‘need’ criteria don’t take proactive steps, those are the ones I hear “you can’t bring that dog in! I have (or most often “people might have”) allergies!” And I usually get annoyed. Because the people who are on a need level, they are proactive, they are also understanding I have a need too and we need to balance both of our needs and those people don’t scream out or demand that I be the one who moves or limits my life. But that said inclusion means designing environments where all feel welcome, safe, and by default that their needs were taken into account in the planning. Not separate but equal. But your needs have been included, we want you here, and look by designing so you’re included, other people are finding they benefit too! That ramp you need so you can wheel in, hey look that mom with a stroller used it too, that older gentleman did as well, and gee that made getting janitorial supplies into the building so much easier too, hey we all can benefit from their ramp, but the person in the wheel chair needs the ramp to gain access.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very interesting perspective. I think it comes down to what everyone’s expectations are in a given situation. I’m going to ponder different angles this week because obviously we have a lot of thoughts on this

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  26. I’m not surprised you were offended by her dramatic reaction. If I was her I’d have moved away as it was her problem. I have a perfume which smells of vanilla and although I love it I am aware that some people are sensitive to vanilla so I use it sparingly. We should all be responsible for our own sensitivities and not expect everyone else to manage them for us. And there are far worse smells on public transport than Jo Malone! X

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think some people mix up not liking something with being intolerant or allergic to something. I mean, I’m allergic to shellfish, it makes me vomit and brings me out in a rash but it doesn’t mean I would demand someone who was eating shellfish in a restaurant be moved. The peanut thing I get, it’s life threatening for some people so extreme caution is needed in those cases but I think our dislikes are in danger of becoming life-inhibiting to ourselves and everyone around us!

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  27. My mom and I moved three times at an outdoor restaurant due to smokers..Pain in the rear? Sure, but smoking was allowed. As obnoxious and inconsiderate as I feel it is to smoke where folks are eating..as long as it’s legal to do so, it’s OUR problem to manage, not theirs and I get that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would move as well. I empathize because I too have certain allergies and sensitivities. I was in Chicago some years ago and we went to a jazz club which allowed smoking. Even though I paid a fee to go in I had to leave after ten minutes because it was so bad. I didn’t get my money back and I didn’t ask anyone to stop smoking. My expectations were wrong, and it was my responsibility to just do what I needed to do

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  28. I have an allergy to screaming children on public transport, in shops, at restaurants but nobody moves or removes the offending ‘articles’ for me!
    How did your train friend cope with NYC, that city is a boxing ring of smells and your olafactory are being constantly punched by various heavyweights.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I have allergies and generally I am the one that removes myself from the situation if allergens are present. Sunshine does accommodate my allergies at home and I do tell restaurants about them so I can pick something that doesn’t have allergens; but I don’t expect everyone else to inconvenience themselves because of my allergies because asking you to move would be ridiculous IMO

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  30. No idea what the protocol is. I suppose you could’ve said, “oh, that’s terrible! So sorry.” And stood pat. Was she there first? What if someone who bathed in dolce&gabbana sat next to her after you left? Would she ask you to come back? Knowing people wear scents and this is a public commuter train she was in the wrong. Yeah, she’d have had a headache but you had every right to sit where you sat. She needed to deal with it. I was a member of BBG for years but have never seen it! I like their publications. Bit of a drive from N.C.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I like your storytelling style and you end with both a learning point and a question.
    Society is challenging- should we speak when we witness littering? What if it’s a irresponsible pooping dog owner? Graffiti that clearly has no redeeming value?
    I suppose that it boils down to some of us are interested in responsible cohabitation in communities.
    Others are oblivious to others, for reasons I have no idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I once saw a guy drop something on the ground, and I said “oh you dropped something” and his response was “that’s ok”. So he intentionally littered. Well dressed guy with his kids….and all I could think was really….that’s what you teach your kids?

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