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i'm perfectly willing to entertain the idea that this is partly psychosomatic, but cigarette smoke has got to be one of the most powerful nasal irritants ever to make my acquaintance. the minute someone takes a teeny tiny, innocent puff in my direction i know it, and it's more than i can stand. because of my zero tolerance policy on exposing myself to cigarette smoke, my general reaction seeing anyone light up in a public place is to affix them with a gaze of the deepest, darkest scorn. it's the same sort of scorn i reserve for those who bring tantrum-prone children to restaurants and movie theaters. the same hairy eye i'll give those who walk their dogs without a poo bag handy (extra scorn points if the dog is off a leash, which automatically lowers the level of safety for everyone, including the dog). it's the same gesture of disbelieving, abject horror i might use when being dangerously cut off by a motorist, or a pedestrian going balls-out loud-and-proud and diagonally jaywalking across a bike circle that, you know, i happen to be in at the time.
the same thing always crosses my mind. do you not care about others? do you not care about yourself?
smokers who go places just to stand outside for fifteen minutes out of every hour, in the rain, wind, snow, air raid, nuclear fallout? i can't lie-- i do pity them. i wish it didn't have to be this way, that they'd be tied to an addiction so fierce they'd be willing to stand this level of scorn from the establishment they're supporting, complete strangers, family and friends, the media. i wish that protecting the lungs of everyone smart enough to stay away from cigarettes did not seem like such a punishment to those who decided to willfully ignore the detriments to themselves and those around them. i wish that there were more measures in place to get these people the help they need and deserve. gosh, it just doesn't seem fair.
but it's always their choice, in the beginning. it is their responsibility. they are not crack babies. they are not permanently disabled. this is not some terminal addiction and these people are not a hopeless case. my father quit smoking when i was very young, and i've never seen evidence of a cigarette since. and here's a newsflash for you: cigarettes? they do not taste like CANDY. this is not something that someone falls into accidentally. you want to smoke, you ignore the risks, you ignore the fact that it sucks ass the first few times you do it, and then you get addicted and all of a sudden i'm supposed to feel sorry that other people don't want to inhale your noxious death cloud. i guess this kind of behavior is just something that is very hard for me to understand.
i'm not saying that if you're a smoker i'm going to be an ass to you. people is people and we all have ridiculously off-putting habits. but if you light up around me, i'm gone. no amount of political correctness is worth getting cancer over.