What is so offensive about incense?
(09-15-2013, 10:44 AM)lauermar Wrote: I am a collector of rare and discontinued perfumes. Many older perfumes contain incense in the base. Spikenard, myrrh and incense existed before Christ! I love them. While pregnant, I had some nausea & sneezing so I stopped wearing until I gave birth. Afterwards, I began wearing them again. I am also a lifelong migraine sufferer with perennial allergic rhinitis. I'd never dream of asking a priest to curtail incense!  On days it was bad, I simply went to low mass.All my symptoms are now under control with proper medications, so I rarely feel sick anymore. I can attend high mass and wear whatever perfume I want.

When I grew up, we had a sense that we shouldn't complain about the illnesses or handicaps we have, but rather humbly live with them as best we can. My mom had RA and never wanted special privileges, a ramp or a special parking space. She walked! We learned to follow doctor's orders, take medications and accept suffering. People back then didn't demand that others change their surrounding conditions to accommodate their handicaps under penalty of lawsuit. Today, no one will tolerate any suffering. No one puts up with even the slightest inconvenience.

Overseas is so different! When I travelled to Italy and France in 2010, I noticed there were no special provisions!  The toilet in a restaurant was a hole in the floor. They live a hard life, a demanding one, where they walk to work, kneel at mass on hard wooden kneelers, or even the ground if they can. If conditions are too difficult, the handicapped stay home or make other arrangements. Then again, they don't have the disposable income like Americans, so they don't run off to a lawyer and sue people every chance they get.

I wouldn't mind returning back to a time when we lived a more simple life, like they do.

Your statement "The toilet in a restaurant was a hole in the floor" puzzles me, because those toilets are not that common and, in our experience, there was always a regular toilet, too.  It's strange that you would say that based on your trip in 2010 since our earlier trips showed quite a different picture.
What you have said could make some think that Italy is a primitive country.

In the 1990s, we went to Italy every year -- Florence, Rome, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Assisi, Cortona, Monterregione, Lucca, etc., and never saw a hole in the floor toilet in a restaurant -- and we ate in trattorias and osterias where Italians ate, not the more expensive ristorantes that cater to Americans. 

The hole in the floor toilets I have seen were porcelain and have a place for your feet, one on each side of the hole.   We only saw them in three places: one was the Etruscan Museum in Volterra, which had a stall with a hole in the floor toilet and a stall with a regular toilet.  Most public restrooms in Italy are unisex, of course, with stall walls from floor to ceiling. 

At the museum attached to Il Duomo in Florence, there were separate restrooms for men and women; the men's room had a hole in the floor toilet and one or two regular toilets while the women's restroom had only regular toilets.  In San Gimignano, there is a bar we always went to because they made wonderful hot chocolate and great pastries, too. In the bathroom there, there were at least two stalls with hole in the floor toilets, and three with regular toilets.  Every other public restroom we were ever in had just regular toilets.

It is true that Italians do a lot of walking, if they live in an old city where they can walk to work, walk to the store, etc. But those who actually live that way are likely a minority everywhere. In Florence, our friends lived outside the city, and it was difficult for them to find housing outside Florence but close enough to drive into the city, where parking is limited and expensive. They went to the gym so they obviously didn't walk enough to stay in shape and they shopped at a supermarket outside the city, not at the little butcher/ bakery/ greengrocer shops in Florence. Only the very rich can live in the city unless they are living in a home their family has owned for generations. Our friends -- two couples -- didn't marry until they were well over 30 because they wouldn't marry without securing a home first.
I think that you have romantic illusions about how Italians live.

On another topic, as Chestertonian said, " I shouldn't have to say this, but not everyone is physically capable of just "sucking it up" and walking.  There are a lot of people out there who would love to just get up and walk.   If your mom was ambulatory and physically capable of walking up stairs (despite pain/exhaustion) then naturally accommodation would have been seen as a "nice-to-have" and not an actual necessity.  But there are people, such as myself that would be unable to fully participate in society without these accommodations. "

I am another person who is not physically capable of just "sucking it up" and walking and I think there are several other posters with disabilities here in addition to Chestertonian and me.  Your post is highly insulting to all people with disabilities and shows an incredible insensitivity towards other people. In effect, you proclaimed that no one needs wheelchairs and ramps because your mother had RA and "She walked!"

Did it ever occur to you that your mother's RA might have been a very mild case, or that she was in remission a lot of the time?   All autoimmune conditions are difficult to diagnose as well so she may have had something other than RA.   But what she experienced is not relevant to what others experience.

I'm sure Italy will be adapting to the needs of tourists in wheelchairs.  I've seen ads for tours designed for people with disabilities.  One couple who are friends of ours have added an elevator to their small hotel and I imagine other small hotels are doing or have done the same.  I could manage two flights of stairs in hotels back in the 90s but I was glad to find an elevator at the Uffizi Museums in Florence and the Vatican Museums in Rome. 

I would hate to see those who complain about incense walk into an Orthodox/Byzantine Catholic church, or better yet an Oriental Orthodox church, where sometimes they have several thurifers waving the censors. They would stand out like a sore thumb, and would probably be ask not to return, if they plan on making a scene with there coughing and hacking. They probably complain about getting burnt fingers from holding a candle as well. I never read about Eastern Christians getting lung infections or asthma from incense either!.   
A young friend of mine, years ago, sang in the professional choir of a very high Anglo-Catholic Church. The church was laid out in the mediaeval pattern with the choir between the nave and the sanctuary. He sat in the middle of the front row, just where the thurifer censed the choir. He allergic to the incense and just getting through the service was an ordeal every Sunday when incense was used.
Poor bloke  :'((

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