I’m going to briefly write about smokers for a bit, or maybe a bit longer.
Earlier on, I planned on really digging into them, but I have a better approach now.
I am really am frustrated with ever having to get a scrap of that stuff near my face.
And it may be true that if nobody did anything about cigarettes, they’d be smoking in day care facilities. Literally everywhere and anywhere except that which would cause explosions.
I’ve got something to tell you, cigarette guy or cigarette girl.
Three reasons you don’t feel that bad about yourself, which make a lot of sense.
One. The very act of not getting to smoke all the time, and having to go somewhere to smoke makes you feel like a creature made out of restraint and temperance.
Smoking is an activity, but your addiction is kind of a passive, involuntary thing.
Who are they to get off on approaching you at all about it?
So when people tell you can’t smoke here or there, it triggers you hardcore.
Two. When people treat you like a problem because you’re defiling their space, you know they could easily not order you around and it might not really ruin their day.
Even if medically they’re justified and are really allergic or whatever, they’re still treating you like you are desiring to make a problem,
when all you’re after is anxiety relief and sensory comfort.
Three. The act of controlling what a smoker can do
is an inherently thrilling and mature-feeling act.
You can feel someone defying their childish instincts to either back away or make a compromise.
You can even tell that they know that “smoking is bad for you” is a cliche from PSAs.
This person defying you isn’t just after their own physical comfort or a sense of justice.
They need that thrill of making someone feel like shit about themselves.
It’s about finding anything to take a stand against that doubts its own ugliness.
But it’s not like you don’t see the ugliness in defiling your body with that stuff.
You know it’s less ugly to take a stand against them, not letting them destroy your once humbly regarded comfort,
as you continue to consume a product that you know comes with lots of pain,
for the sake of getting through the day.
You know it’s fundamentally gross to show and ruin what is largely a solitary pleasure.
But here’s the gap in your empathy.
That overwhelming resolve you feel, that overwhelming sureness about the inner ugliness of people trying to take the stick out of your mouth
isn’t something people lacked back when you could light up in a movie theater.
The ridiculous power of laws was required to stop that.
To block the will of people just like you so long ago.
It’s not like your restraint is invalid. It’s not like you don’t have real affection for not smoking in a hospital. It’s not like you really hate literally everything abpout the antitobacco movement either.
But your heart’s not in a different universe of big or strong compared to your predecessors,
who needed the brute force of laws to be dealt with.
If you actually could, you’d keep your noxious smell from touching anything, right?
Does that make vaping annoying to you? Replacing the bad smell with a good one?
And yet, vaping is still lame, isn’t it?
It just feels like an awkward step on your face to have somebody try and branch out from one of the unpleasant qualities of your hobby.
Something about the very nature of not producing aggravating smoke, is somehow, kind of cringe.
Smoking is so normal, so bland, to you. You’re not really trying to hurt people, you’re solving your own anxiety problems, and the whole thing has a strangely rebellious little vibe.
So to try and change anything about it seems really lame, doesn’t it?
Perhaps what’s lame is the whole smoking vibe entirely.
But for now, in spite of the irritation, I’ll give some thanks to that man I saw who crossed toward the empty street to smoke alone,
in spite of the jaywalking necessary.
Whether it was out of kindness or a need to not be confronted,
he chose not to be ready to battle others about it.
He was content to not make himself a warrior out of the good vibes of smoking addiction.
Let me remind you I am fine with you doing it on the beach, where there is indeed no contact from smoker to non.
To not concede that would be truly gross.
There was a man who smoked over the bridge on the train recently.
I felt anger like I hadn’t in about a year.
But I know that kind of behavior can’t be changed through conventional means.
That kind of villain needs magic gloves to be grappled,
the kind that can shut down good vibes at their best.