Smoke Signals

Since I spend a lot longer commuting now than I did before we moved, I’ve managed to observe a lot of the automotive habits of other drivers. And even though most of them are assholes on the road, that’s not what I’m talking about today.

I don’t smoke. I have smoked, on occasion, so I know what it’s like. But since the vast majority of people in my life are non-smokers (and that now includes my mother-in-law), I don’t really think about smoking very often. But as I drive to work (or home) every day, I notice quite a few people smoking in their cars.

I notice smoke when I’m around it. And it’s not really pleasant. At least not when I’m sober. And I’m sober almost all the time. In my younger days, I didn’t mind. In my days of social smoking, I didn’t mind. But when I smell it and have to breathe it, it’s just not good. I actually find myself taking several steps back when I encounter someone who has just returned from a smoke break. I can’t imagine having to sit in someone’s car who smokes on their commute.

Especially when it’s so cold they don’t even open up a window.

I don’t know. I guess I had kind of deluded myself (since I really don’t get out much to witness what’s actually going on in the world) into thinking that smoking had significantly declined. I can’t imagine, even thinking about my youthful indiscretions with cigarettes, smoking in such a confined space. I always hated the smell of it on my clothes and in my hair, a smell that lingered and lingered long after the nicotine buzz wore off.

It makes me sad for people. People smoke, and it’s so bad for them. And they know how bad it is, but they do it anyway. In their cars, in their houses, in front of their pets and children. In bars where there is no non-smoking section. I know it’s a tough nut, that addiction, and I’m not trying to get up on a high horse over here. I’m not telling you to quit. You have to want to quit, I know. And it’s hard. Like any addiction. I guess I just don’t understand it, and I want people to have healthy lives. And even though it kind of does make you look cool, that’s really the only thing appealing about it. And there are other ways to look cool. Like smiling or strutting around in a really great pair of boots.

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