Involuntary Secondhand Smoke

Smoking is an addicting lifestyle choice. I get it. I have friends who smoke and though it’s not my cup of tea, they’re pretty respectful about it (i.e. won’t blow smoke in my face, open the car windows if they do decide to smoke whilst driving, etc).

I’ve never smoked cigarettes. What can I say? I guess the D.A.R.E. assemblies got to me. And probably because of that, it never seemed worth it.

There’s also the story my dad’s told me a hundred times (that I never get tired of hearing): He and my mom were dating for a while and when he popped the question, she said she would only marry him if he quit smoking. He called over the waiter (they were out to dinner at the time), crumbled up his carton of cigs, and asked him to take them away. She said yes, they married, and I am here in this moment typing to you. The epilogue to that story is when he would get cravings, especially at work, he would leave his office and go for a run. And he would hack and hack, unable to breathe, the wind completely taken from his lungs. His cravings stopped then, when he came face-to-face with what the cigarettes were doing to his body.

He’s hasn’t smoked since.

Every day I try to go for a walk. My schedule doesn’t always allow it; Sometimes it rains, I wake up late, forget, get preoccupied, but I do try. I had a busy morning today, so after dinner I made a shotgun decision to go to the track (which I’m a short walk away from) and just do it (Nike style).

I try to go for about 45 minutes, break a sweat, breathe in some fresh air, take in the sky. The track’s the only place I can really dream and visualize the Cosmos – Earth as a big blue marble spinning and rotating around the Sun and all that. It all makes sense to me there.

So anyway, I’m on my second to last lap when I notice two people (a man and woman who appeared to be younger than me) blowing out smoke while walking around the track. And when I get closer, lo and behold they actually are smoking cigarettes while walking around the track. Really careless about it, disrespectful, making fun of a man in front of them who’s lifting his arms while walking. Also, the track is packed with people, especially elderly people trying to get in some physical fitness to maybe extend their lifespan. There’s also larger people there, trying to be active to maybe decrease that chance of heart attack or stroke. And here are these careless individuals holding hands, smoking cigarettes, and making fun of the nightly regulars while they exercise. It made me really upset.

I hustled past them. I thought about saying something but didn’t. What would I say? What would change? If it became a repeat occurrence, I think I could see myself calling them out…I don’t know. It’s just not right. Go smoke near the swing set, the bleachers, but not the track. People are trying to be healthy there. They could have literally walked anywhere else.

Humans are despicable sometimes. Don’t make us suffer with you. I wanna breathe in the fresh night air, not your pitiful secondhand smoke. Keep it in the car next time.

5 Days of Gratitude Challenge – Day 5

Last day! Hooray!

  1. My orthotics and the ability to walk. This morning I had an interview in the DUMBO part of Brooklyn (lots of walking and train taking) and honestly, every time I’m out and about I’m so thankful for having orthotics and legs to carry myself with. About a year ago, I had tremendous pain in my ankles. I could barely stand, nevermind walk. I was very worried about it. I went to physical therapy for months and though my condition improved, the problem didn’t go away. My chiropractor recommended I see a podiatrist and it was he who discovered (after an x-ray) that I have something called an Osteochondral Lesion in both my ankles. This basically means that I have two small fractures (about 8 mm long, each) in the cartilage of both my ankles. I immediately thought I would need surgery, but luckily we were able to fix the problem by my podiatrist making me custom orthotics that now properly support my foot and ankle. I’m not supposed to walk barefoot often and must always wear shoes with proper support (even sandals. No flip-flops!). But it’s a small price to pay to be pain free and walk with ease 🙂
  2. I’m also very grateful for all the friends I have these days. Though the numbers may have dwindled over the years, I now find myself more confident and at ease with the people I now stay in touch with because I know they truly care about me, and I care about them too – very much. There are 5 I can immediately call to mind who are wonderful people to have conversation with, have a coffee or a drink with, and laugh and be silly with but still trust enough to confide in each other. I treasure them immensely.
  3. Lastly, I am grateful and appreciative of my ability to write music and play guitar. There are many days where words are not enough, and music has to come in and do the talking. I’ve always been indebted to my rich musical upbringing since I was a kid because it has taught me so much over time. Not only is it cathartic, but it can be so much fun sometimes. Some days I feel as though I’d be nothing without it.