Thursday, 3 May 2012

Defense De Fumer

The signs in Paris, home of the stereotype of chic smokers, who wear black trenchcoats while spouting existential musings between cloudy nasal puffs, "Defense De Fumer" are now everywhere in support of public health. The signs mean, of course, "No Smoking," but, as an English speaker reading the sign, you'd think they were supporting it, defending it, if you will. In California, all smokers have been relegated to the outdoors. Nobody's allowed to smoke inside anymore, so those that do all seek their refuge on sidewalks, puffing away, ironically, as if their lives depended on it. As a former smoker, I fully understand that comforting feeling of a breakfast of black coffee and a cigarette (oh, yummy :P ), but, now, as a non-smoker, I'll say that there's nothing more bile-churning than whiffing a person's cig trails first thing in the morning. I think, because I used to smoke, the internalizing of the smell makes it even worse. My body remembers the damage, perhaps. It's even worse when I'm running, and I happen to pass a bus stop, or a person heading into work, and, as I gasp for oxygen, I get a big gulp of nicotine, ash and carbon monoxide. Eeeeeek and iirrrgg! Far be it from me to deprive any smoker of his or her right to smoke. You're an adult, you know the risks. I know I have to suck it up (yuck) and deal with the occasional nearly asphyxiating breaths of toxic air as I pass you people. I know what it's like to smoke and think, "I'm outside, the smoke isn't getting on anyone. No one is forced to breathe it." Occasionally, though, we are, and it does still get on us, in our hair, in our clothes. It's nasty. Even smokers will admit, it's nasty. I guess I'm just ranting. I'm not advocating to end all smoking, indoors or out, like I said. I'm just grossed out, like I am with all the dog poop and garbage on the sidewalks of Los Angeles. But that's for another chapter, another rant, in this semi-urban adventure.

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