Saturday, 6 August 2016

"Please don't smoke

in this house."
We have a polite reminder on the door. It has been there for years. The Senior Cat stopped smoking when I was a kitten. I stopped feeling car sick on every journey, no matter how short, at the same time. 
I have never as much as tried to smoke a cigarette. My brother tried one  - or pretended to try one - just once. He declared it "vile" and left it to others. Middle Cat is so fiercely anti smoking she once told one of her uncles-in-law that she would wait to take him somewhere . Doing that to a Cypriot male earned her the applause of her Cypriot female in-laws (none of whom smoke) and the approbation of the males. 
I know the  youngest of us will have tried - probably more than once. She had a much stronger rebellious streak but she doesn't smoke either.
Of course I, like most of my generation, have had to endure other people's cigarette smoke. Staff rooms used to be a fog of smoke. After a late afternoon staff meeting I would go home and wash everything I had on - as well as myself. I avoided social occasions where people would be smoking in an enclosed space simply because I would always leave feeling physically ill. 
And almost everyone we know doesn't smoke. I still leave the note on the door because you never know who might come. Most people would ask these days but I don't want to risk having someone smoke in the house. These days the Senior Cat has wood dust induced asthma and cigarette smoke would just make the situation worse.
Yesterday though I had to go to the Post Office to pay a bill for the Senior Cat. Outside I met someone I know. He is still quite a heavy smoker. It used to be 60 a day and now it is down to 20. He had just taken out his cigarettes. He was about to shake one out of the packet. He saw me, sighed, and put them away.
"B....hell Cat, did you have to turn up just now?"
I looked at him.
"I thought I'd get one in before M...(his wife) gets out of there," he told me looking towards the Post Office.
"Bad luck," I said. He knows better than to light up in front of me. I once told him, quite politely, that I cannot tolerate cigarette smoke.
And I, naughtily perhaps, stood there and talked to him until his wife came out. She knew exactly what I had done too  because she gave me a discreet "thumbs up" as they left. 
I don't suppose it has done much good though. His breathing is ragged these days. He has that "smokers' cough". It just makes me wonder why anyone would actually want to smoke...but they say it is one of the most addictive drugs around. 
I guess I am lucky never to have even wanted to try. 

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