Sunday, December 07, 2008


"If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire, and take appropriate action."

-Douglas Adams

Let's finish this weekend of rants with one last speaking of my mind, shall we? Does it get anymore inconsiderate then this? The other day I pulled up to a Starbuck's, for a venti sized elixir of life, aka, Venti/Shaken/Ice Tea/Lemonade with Passion Tea w/no sweetener, when I was cut off in mid-stride by a woman who just had to reach the door before me, but not before pausing for 5 seconds to deposit her cancer stick under the proudly displayed sign prohibiting such such behavior. This lady wasn't on foot mind you, she was parked in the car next to mine when I arrived. She stepped from her pristine oldsmobuick, lit up, and then made the decision to share her toxins with the world, knowing she was about to enter a smoke free environment. Sheesh.

It has bothered me for a long time. I don't understand how these useless things can even be legal? Lots, and lots of information available at our fingertips regarding the dangers being caused to smokers, and those around them, and yet even in 2008 folks are still lighting up. You know what breaks my heart. Folks like Dana Reeve, who passed away a couple years ago from Lung Cancer. She wasn't a smoker, but I suspect that the years and years she spent in smoky cabaret clubs entertaining people with her beautiful singing voice, probably left her lungs damaged. Her son is an orphan now, after having also lost his father, Christopher Reeve, to a tragic accident. How many good, but stupid, people contributed to her illness?

I know, I know... stupid is a pretty strong word. I don't use it often, but what would you guess is the intelligence level of someone who still continues to smoke, despite all the information available with the ease of a keystroke? I can meet someone nice, intelligent, giving, and loving, and instantly lose respect for them just because of this choice. The most attractive man on earth becomes hideous to me, just because of smoking. I watched my mother smoke my whole life. I say "my whole life," because she doesn't have a life anymore, she is dead. She would smoke, rather then eat, so she could stay "attractive." She was a fool. We all tried to tell her. She ended up with emphysema, and the lung capacity of a woman of 116, when she was just 50 years old. We won't discuss what life was like for her later in life.

I have been reading a lot lately about how to avoid some of the mistakes I made with Elvis. I want my two new little boys to be with me as long as possible. Alan and I are hoping for at least 20 years. The fact is, this is the last time I will be able to handle raising kittens. They are energetic little ones, and with my ever increasing degenerative arthritis, I know my olden days will be painful ones. It's all about planning ahead. In my travels I have also been educating myself on cancer in pets. I keep wondering if there had been something I might have done to cause the cancer Elvis had. So far I haven't found anything to suggest it was something specific I did, but I am sure that his being overweight, which led to diabetes, probably didn't help prolong his life.

I have learned that pets, cats and dogs, do indeed get lung cancer from the second hand smoke of their owners. The tragedy is that most folks who own pets, do so out of a genuine love for their fur babies. You can't put a value on how much a pet can enrich your life. I wouldn't have taken a million dollars for my Elvis, and I believe that's how most pet owners feel, and yet, there are the statistics which seem to indicate otherwise. Sigh. Maybe it was because I had just had my daily weep of loneliness for Elvis, but as I saw the inconsiderate woman deposit her cancer stick where she did, and in that moment, I had the question go through my mind about whether or not she owned and loved a cat. Sigh.

If you are a smoker, try to rethink your behavior. You must know by now the dangers of your actions. If you are a smoker, please reconsider what you are putting your loved ones, including your pets, through. You are asking them to watch you die slowly, painfully, and when you do die, what you get is rest, while your loved ones live in the pain of facing life without you. If you are a smoker, then smoke in your car, let the rest of us who really want to smell the flowers outside of Starbuck's enjoy them. If you have been smoking for any length of time, you probably can't smell flowers accurately any longer. It's too bad, a rose in December is something no one should have to miss in favor of carcinogens.

As always, I invite opinions. I ask only that you be respectful. Tell me what you think. Do you smoke? Have you ever lost a loved one to Lung Cancer? How about other cancers? Do you believe that smoking should be restricted to inside a person's home only? Opinions, opinions.

Somewhere In The East Bay
December 2008


Far Side of Fifty said...

I wonder if Obama will be allowed to smoke in the White House or if parts of it will be considered a private residence. He was on Meet The Press this morning with Tom..and Obama is clearly still a smoker. :)

Carly said...

Hi Connie :)

Isn't it a shame? Last spring I mentioned in an entry about why I was reluctant to vote for Obama I mentioned his having recently tried to give up smoking. It automatically made me respect him less, because not only does he have a responsibility to set an example for his daughters, but he does for his country as well. On matters of national policy, I have been very happy with him so far. As for his nasty habit... well... as I said, I automatically respect him less. I am hoping he will keep trying to quit, because after all, it does affect me. He will be president... I want him to be healthy.

Carly :)

Dave said...

I enjoy yelling comments to people along the lines of, "because the world is your ashtray!" After all, that's apparently what they believe.

I have difficulty mustering up any respect for anyone who wants to toss those disgusting things on the street, sidewalk, or leave them outside of Starbucks. They have a right to destroy their health, and I have a right to a clean environment. Their rights end where mine begin.

Jama said...

In Singapore, there's a rule of no smoking in indoor aircon-restaurants, offices, libraries,airport,pubs and clubs, inside buses/train/taxis- including the stations too- even outdoor food court there's a designated area where one can light up. Breaking the rule means a hefty fine for a few hundred dollars.For office workers they usually have to leave the building if they wants to smoke. Non smokers can at least have some unpolluted air!

Cindy said...

I have many opinions and a lot to say about smokers and smoking, but it's late over here in CT and I'm tired! I'll try to remember to come back tomorrow.

I used to smoke. How disgusting!

xo Phin

fdtate said...

As a smoker I take offense at your post. Once upon a time the world was a happy place where smokers could light up just about anywhere and everywhere they chose to. Some people were offended so we graciously provided non-smoking areas. Then along came the scientists with their fancy studies and experiments and suddenly we're pariahs who are not fit to exist in a civilized society. Now the anti-smoking Nazis have made it so that we wonder if we will be able to enjoy a smoke in our own homes in the near future. It seems as if it is more acceptable to shoot up some H in a public place than it is to light up a smoke.

My philosophy on the subject was perfectly expressed by William Hurt in a movie (I forget which one). He got in a taxi where the driver had posted a sign that said "Thank you for not smoking!" He lit up. The driver said, "Hey, that sign says no smoking." Hurt said, "No. The sign says 'Thank you for not smoking,' but since I am smoking I don't expect to be thanked."

Also that woman must have been a newbie to the habit. Every serious smoker now knows that EVERYWHERE is a non-smoking establishment. You time your cigarette out so that you are finishing as you are arriving. I'm also concerned about the thoughtfulness of the Starbuck's in question. They don't want you to smoke inside, but don't have an ashtray outside the door? What's up with that? The woman was thoughtful enough to throw her butt on the ground thus providing gainful employment to whomever the Starbuck's had to hire to pick it up.

Seriously, it is a disgusting habit (though not as disgusting as many others I could name) and it is one of my life's biggest regrets that I ever lit up the first one. Once started it is one of the hardest habits in the world to break, so please have a little sympathy for us idiots who are addicted. I have two weeks off from work starting on Dec. 19 and have been planning to try once again to quit while I'm off -- that way the murder victims will just be limited to family members. Wish me luck.