Scents Send Me Into Rapid Descent

I am so tired of being vulnerable to anyone who feels the need to convey his or her personality by spraying cologne or dabbing perfume or using Axe deodorant. No longer is one’s choice of scent private, to be discovered when a level of intimacy is reached where a neck is nuzzled or a hug is given; no, now it is shouted to the world, discernable half a block away.

I know I have what we called in law school “an eggshell skull”—that is, I am someone who is unusually susceptible—for me, it’s exposure to fragrances found in perfume, colognes, lotions, and a seemingly-limitless number of personal hygiene products. But being unusually susceptible doesn’t change the experience I have. Every month, I suffer from a migraine more than half the days. This past week, I was exposed to perfume at work on Thursday, giving me a migraine bad enough to send me home and keep me at home on Friday. It kept me in bed on Saturday until about 3:00, when I finally got some relief, but it came back full power on Sunday. I woke up on Monday migraine free until I was exposed to a perfume bomb while eating lunch outdoors, as far from the restaurant door as possible. Eggshell skull or not, I am in pain much of my waking life and I am truly sick of it.

Unless I am eating, I wear a mask when I am not at home, in my car, or in my office. (I am now beginning to wear it when leaving my personal office to go to the general printer, the restroom or the office kitchen, after the exposure last Thursday.) When will it become as frowned upon to pollute the air with neurotoxins like perfume for one’s personal enjoyment as it is to smoke in public?

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