Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Following up on song lyrics / Masked and Anonymous

Today some of the lyrics from George Harrison's final album came to my mind out of nowhere while I was puzzling over how to deal with my severe sensitivity to perfume, which is causing me some problems as I try to move forward with my life by taking classes that will give me a better chance in the workplace as a woman who is going to be 65 years old this year and will have to work for the rest of her life.  Certain perfumes trigger 3-day headaches for me, and I have had to leave class twice and have already missed a class due to a 3-day headache.  I approached the teacher with my problem, and he suggested wearing a mask.

OK.  I found a respiratory mask that made me laugh out loud.  Okay.  I'll bring a mask to class and put it on if someone shows up wearing perfume.  I can't wait for the mask to arrive in the mail by way of London.

Still thinking about the George Harrison lyrics, I did more searching and found this which readers in England may have seen before.  I'd not come across it until now:

Here are the first lines from "Brainwashed," by George Harrison:

It was on the longest night
God God God
An eternity of darkness
God God God
Someone turned out the spiritual light

Thank you, George, for sharing your spiritual journey and unquenchable sense of humor!


Rubye Jack said...

Ugh, I have a problem with some perfumes also, but nothing as bad as yours. The teacher should have told the class not to wear perfumes because of other people's allergies. Oh well.

Tara said...

I agree, there should be a request to the class not to wear scented products due to allergies. I used to have severe reactions to perfumes as well, and began to bang the drum at work about MCS and the need to refrain from scented products. In a university setting this was received fairly well, but I think in the private sector, not so much. And that mask DOES look like a mask. And I have a very small nose bridge and those nose pinchers are always too big for me and cut into my eyeballs.

Luckily, and I don't know why, my MCS have disappeared. Thank goodness. But I still detest the smell of strong perfumes and hair spray/products.

Sabine said...

Thank you for this lovely link.
Can you talk to the perfume person in private? Sometimes people understand. Or is it more than one person?
When I was living in Africa I found it often very tough working in a hot room full of people who had (to my nose) rancid coconut oil in their beautiful braids. I found a way out with a tiny bit of tiger balm (or any mint oil) rubbed on or below my nose.

Anonymous said...

I think the teacher could have asked the class not to wear perfume. Pretty simple. A three-day headache sounds awful. I hope you were able to take something to relieve the pain.

The Solitary Walker said...

I agree with the other responses — the teacher should do something about it, in a sensitive manner, and I'm sure the other students would accommodate. (Though who knows?) A mask seems a bit radical, though the thought has its amusing aspect :)

am said...

Rubye -- Interesting that the classroom has a clock with Rosie the Riveter and "We. Can. Do. It." spread out over 12, 9, 3 and 6 o'clock!

Tara -- Good to know that your MCS have disappeared. This is a nonprofit agency which offers free job preparation classes to low-income and displaced people. I am surprised that the teacher is not more supportive, as I suspect the organization might support me, after giving the situation some thought. I have contacted the organization but so far have not gotten a response. The last few times I have found a seat in class as far as possible from the main person with the strong perfume, and I have been able to stay through the entire class.

Sabine -- There is more than one person. Without thinking, I talked to the computer tech who came into the room wearing strong cologne during class. I was wrong. Should have talked to him privately. A fellow student suggested something similar to tiger balm. Her suggestion was to place a drop of peppermint essential oil on the back of my neck at the hairline. I found something called a "headache stick," with peppermint and lavender essential oil. That has helped.

robin andrea -- My only defenses are acetaminophen and aspirin. I've been worked up for headaches and those are the only medications I can use. As a last resort, I use Excedrin, which has acetaminophen and aspirin and caffeine. It doesn't always work, but this time it did when I gave it a try on the third day.

Solitary Walker -- After having several days to think about this situation and to consider the feedback I've gotten from various people, I've decided not to create unnecessary drama by wearing a red mask. The thought still makes me laugh, but I know that wearing a red mask in class would be counterproductive.

Goat said...

Hey Am, first comment from my new home in your country! I too share an intolerance of our over-perfumed world. My sinuses are delicate things at the best of times, and I can also suffer from headaches when assaulted by perfume. Nothing like the severity of yours though. A mask? Damn. Yet another thing I disliked about Korea was the preponderance of masks in public. But whatever works...

Kate tells me her husband had a fondness for nasty, cheap, overpowering cologne. She adores the fact I don't indulge, and still reacts near-violently when she sees - and smells - him!

am said...

Goat -- Good to hear from you from your new home with Kate and the girls in New York!

I dropped the mask idea, realizing that would be totally counterproductive, aside from making me laugh. Fortunately, the situation has improved. It is challenging to navigate public places when one is sensitive to perfumes. No wonder I would rather be out walking in the woods or down by the bay. Happily, the infant daycare room where I volunteer once a week is a perfect environment, with the health of babies in mind.