Monday, April 5, 2010

The Smoker

Last night I was leaving Sam’s Club behind a large woman who was leaning heavily on her shopping cart. She was getting along rather slowly, and her plight gave me a bit more patience than I might normally have for someone holding up traffic near a crowded exit. And, as there was little chance of maneuvering around her, the shoppers who were unfortunate enough to be positioned behind her, plodded along with their lips pursed and nostrils flared. I’m sure there was at least one eye roll in the bunch. The gathering foot traffic was pressing in upon me just as the woman reached the doorway. Anxious for our relief to come, and on the threshold of freedom, the woman stopped dead in her tracks. Now I was bumped from behind and my polite restraint vanished. What could be so urgent to bring progress to a complete standstill? The woman presented a cigarette, lit it, and took a deep puff before proceeding at a snail’s pace out the doorway. The instant a gap large enough was found between the doorway and the woman, I made my speedy escape screaming into the night air, "A cigarette! Holding up a store full of people, and for what!?! A cigarette! Of all the SELFISH, INCONSIDERATE—"

Let’s ignore the fact that smoking within 15 feet of a public entrance is illegal. Let’s also ignore the fact that cigarette smoke is highly offensive and a filthy, unhealthy habit, and concentrate on the fact that the woman put her own comfort ahead of everyone else. Her poor health excused some delay, and allowances had been made for what she could not help. But the selfishness associated with lighting her cigarette cannot be excused!

I think that those who depend on others to care for them can easily lose perspective and think of nothing but their own immediate needs and desires. Illness and age should never become an excuse for failing to show consideration to others!


  1. Smokers in general get my blood boiling, but her obliviousness would have sent me over the top! So I empathize with you! P.S. I'm an ENFP, so I'm usually trying to understand people before I judge, but not with smokers!

  2. This is hilarious and well-written. I have to say though, smoking is not a habit, it is an addiction. How someone can be stupid enough to get addicted in the first place... I cannot comment on that. But once you're hooked (it doesn't take much), you are hooked!

    That said, it is not polite or considerate or fair to do what this woman did. I am a newly ex-smoker (I quit 6 weeks ago). I did not light up in the vicinity of nonsmokers and kids. I did the best I could anyway.

  3. Just love your blog. I like your expressions of ordinary daily observations.

    and thanks for adding my roses necklace


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