I can’t believe it.  They are smoking.  Grumble.  Stomp.  Hello – fake smile.

All of this because my neighbors had stepped out into the coolish evening air to have a cigarette while I was trying to finish a little yard work.  My,  but things have changed.

I grew up with two smoking parents, who smoked in the house, in the car, and if we went out we sat in the smoking section of the restaurant so they could, you guessed it, smoke.   I often had the job of digging the pack of cigarettes out of Mom’s purse while she drove (pre-seatbelts), removing a cigarette and handing it to her.  I recall being scandalized when I was in fifth or sixth grade and she suggested I light it for her.  She was either testing me or more likely trying to loosen me up a little.  I was required to make mudpies  probably only  the previous year when she found I hadn’t ever done that.

Cigarette smoke really bothers me now whenever I am around it.  I don’t know if it is psychosomatic or a real reaction now that I am no longer exposed to smoke on a daily basis.  After Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and died I seem to be much more sensitive to smoke.  Beside just being annoyed at the smell, my chest seems to tighten if I breath even a little smoke.  But this really isn’t an issue.  Even NASCAR races are smoke free and it is easier to find the spot to curb your service dog at a theme park than a place to smoke.

I have to confess.  I have never smoked a single cigarette.  The yearly anti-smoking campaign in elementary school worked for me.  The black lungs we passed around, which by the way look nothing like what I saw on Dr. Oz today, you don’t think they were just a model do you?  And the cost analysis.  Did you have to calculate the cost of smoking each year?  We did.  I know this because I took the number to my mother with the toy catalog and showed her what she could buy me if she just stopped smoking.  And this was in the early 1970’s.  She was not impressed.  But as much as both of my parents smoked, and as much as I liked the smell of that freshly opened pack of cigarettes, I knew if I just smoked one I would be hooked.  One bullet dodged!

I will admit that I learned a lot hanging out in the smoking teachers’ lounge when I student taught and later when I subbed.  There was a camaraderie that didn’t exist in the non-smoking teaching lounge.   Plus the Pepsi machine was in there.  Now teachers have to drive off campus and smoke a cigarette during lunch to carry them through the day and the rest of us pretend not to know why they are zooming out of the parking lot.

This year I listened to a talk that mentioned third hand smoke, the harmful residue left behind when someone smokes and they made the statement that research has found that one is not safe from smoking residue in a hotel if any rooms are designated smoking rooms.   It makes you think.

But smoking was on my mind today I guess.   First Whoopie Goldberg on Dr. Oz having finally kicked the habit, then the neighbors, although I really wish they wouldn’t throw the butts on the ground but that is a different rant entirely and finally Final Jeopardy.  So, now you know where I stand, in the middle of the non-smoking section!

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