I'm usually pretty easy going and can simply blow things off, but I'm finding it hard to not be personally insulted by something that happened in church today.
While attending mass for the past few months, I've been sitting in what they call the 'votive' room. This is a little room at the back of the church which doesn't have any doors, but is open to where mass is performed. They went the way of electronic candles a long time ago, so there is no smoke or anything funny coming from the 'candles'. It is not the 'cry' room where all of the families with very young, vivacious children go either.
Even though I wear a hat in mass every week, I still sit in the votive room because of my light sensitivities and because some people love to bath themselves in smelly stuff before going to church. This room has really been a win-win solution for me. There are a few regulars who also 'hang out' in the votive room to watch and listen to mass. Some of the people are a little older, some have walking difficulties and we even had someone with an oxygen machine in there once. The most we've had in there at one time was about five people although it will comfortably fit about seven.
Today there were only three of us; a married couple and me. They've been regulars in this room for the last few weeks although they used to sit in the last few pews before settling into the votive room. They don't know I sit in that room because of my sensitivities, but they always see me wearing my hats. Fortunately or maybe unfortunately, today was a day I could smell everything. No, none of those natural smells.
There is a point in our mass when we shake hands. They kissed and then took turns shaking my hand. As mass progressed, she put some lotion in her hand and shared some with him so they could both put it on. That looked so cute as it was transferred by what looked like a little hand shake or hold between them.
Weeelllll, due to my heightened sense of smell today, I could tell it was not hand lotion that they put on. I have a sensitivity to the smell of those hand sanitizers and today it hit my head like a brick wall.
If I am the only other person who they shook hands with, how could I not be personally offended when they use a hand sanitizer right after shaking my hand? What should I do next week if faced with the same situation?
Should I start wearing a face mask as well as my hat every week while sitting in the votive room? Should I sit in a seat that is a little further away from them in this pretty small room? Should I just bump their fists like the athletes do? Should I just wave to them? Should I leave the room before and avoid the whole handshaking situation all together?
I really don't need to shake their hands nor do I think they really want to shake mine. If there are other people in the room, they are going to do the 'right thing' and shake the other peoples hands. I could embarrass them by asking them to use the hand sanitizer outside of my 'sanctuary'.
I've got a week to think about how I want to handle this situation. I really don't want to embarrass them or make them feel uncomfortable, but I don't want to smell this in my haven especially on days I can smell everything. The problem with speaking to them is that they usually get there as mass is starting and scoot out as soon as it is finishing so it would be hard to talk to them. I really don't think it's appropriate to discuss anything during the mass. I could always hand them a note. At least they would know the result of their innocent (yet insulting) action has on me and then the ball would be in their court.
How would you handle this situation? It just happened so I haven't really given it much serious thought yet. I'm sure they have no idea - yet.