It was an ordinary day in Volunteer Services at the hospital. Wonderful Lady and I have a system in place; she hands me projects and I do them. A sticky note gives instruction, and I don't need any further prompting.
This system is usually due to the (practically) revolving door to her office with people needing Wonderful Lady's. To their credit, nothing that's needed her intervention has ever been trivial or ridiculous, but the sheer volume means that without me, lots of office work would never get done. She sings my praises daily to make sure the universe knows she's grateful and doesn't decide to take me away.
One such revolving door walk in was a new volunteer, walking in to do some training with the volunteer chairperson in the Emergency Department.
There is a knock, and the door opens to reveal a volunteer who isn't even wearing her uniform. No uniform, no training. We send volunteers home if they're not up to code. Then she steps into the room.
Oh Thrognar, no. No no no no! What are you wearing?! Why are you wearing so much of it?! God of retail save me! It's a physical entity! Kill it! Kill it before it devours the world!
This veritable CLOUD envelops the room, and I'm hit full in the sinuses with my sneeze trigger. I swear, if I ever find out what the name of this shit is, I will nuke their production site!
I turn my back to her as she passes my desk to get to Wonderful Lady and take shallow breaths. My nose is running, I'm on the brink of either a sneezing or coughing fit, and my brain just fogged over. Thought processes; no, bad, error 404.
Wonderful Lady's greeting sort of half freezes and she tactfully says, "Oh, and I'm sorry, but we cannot let you volunteer while wearing perfume. Especially not in the ER."
This is stated in the handbook, which the girl has already signed as having read it.
"Oh well I just came here straight from college. I forgot. So where do I go to meet the chairperson?"
Forgot my ass. You didn't even fucking read the book you signed (a common headache we have by the way). The book is very direct. No. Perfume. No heavily scented deodorant.
I reached over, seized a tissue from the nearby box and quietly clear my nose of snot while still breathing shallowly. Don't cough. Don't sneeze. Once you do, you won't be able to stop.
"Well unfortunately you're not in uniform, which we require, and we cannot allow you into the emergency room wearing a perfume. People there are already sick and hurting, which makes them very sensitive to smells. Any smells at all. Perfume can make it worse. We're going to have to send you home and re-schedule your first training day." Wonderful Lady is being quite firm. "And, as the handbook says, and as we went over with you in the interview, beige or white pants and one of our polos or jackets."
Our windows don't open, and for some reason this part of the hospital is freezing cold even during three digit temperature days. In order to disperse the smell, the door is opened wide, and Wonderful Lady turns on the heater full blast to get the air moving. She rubs her temples with her fingertips.
Wonderful Lady: Oh my God Ilia, her perfume is giving me a headache! What was she thinking?!
Me: Oh believe me, I was sitting here with a mantra of; "Don't cough, don't sneeze."
Another volunteer appears at the open door and stops as though he hit a wall.
Volunteer: What the...?! I thought perfumes were forbidden!
It took a long time to clear the air in the room. May all your customers read the damn rules,