Two Sides of Tolerance: Accepting Others

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A Quiet Week In The House

Perfume

Not long ago, I enjoyed tea and pastry at my favorite bakery. A woman with dizzying perfume swept into a seat behind me. Her sharp, expensive fragrance slid over my table, invading each sip and bite I took. Ā Irritation engulfed me. I snatched up my notebooks and stomped across the room to pen a few ill-tempered paragraphs. When my tea tasted good again, I stole a glance at the perpetrator. Slim and sixtyish, she stiffened under my scrutiny.

I expected someone offensive and unlikableā€“a diabolical, slathering fiend, perfume bottle in hand, ready to shoot pungent fluids at my face.Ā  Instead, a frail and self-conscious senior citizen nibbled a croissant. Ā Her red-and-black plaid pantsuit radiated as fiercely as her fragrance. She was the kind of woman who applies lipstick with a tiny brush and styles her improbable chestnut hair with precision. In a deserted bakery, she purposely chose the seat closestā€¦

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