Sunday, 1 July 2007

Killing me softly

I was going to let it pass without mention, but I find that I can't. I am just so pleased that the smoking ban has finally come into force.
I spent my life until my late teenage years living in a house with a father who smoked almost incessantly. It was before the grave warnings on the side of fag packets and the messages of ill health and worse were only starting to be heard and believed by most folk. Smokers were in the majority, or so it seemed.
I always hated smoking. Not in a mild fashion, but with a searing vengeance. I hated that the smoke made me choke, that it stank out the whole house, that the ceiling in the sitting room was yellow and that my father had chronic bronchitis. I would avoid spending time downstairs in a room that when you entered, your head would be above the swirling clouds of smoke, and your neck below. I couldn't understand the addiction to something so unpleasant, or that the father I loved dearly was causing himself and our home to be in thrall to the fag.
I never thought kids at school who smoked surreptitiously behind the bike sheds or the gym were cool - they had breath that stank, yellow fingernails and ash on their clothes - what was cool about that? Pubs and parties were great until the fug got overwhelming, and I shuddered at the way my clothes reeked when I got home, particularly as we didn't have a washing machine and I'd have to lug them to the laundry or splosh them about in the sink.
I don't think I ever kissed anyone who smoked, and when I finally did, it was on the understanding that the ciggies were history.
At work for a local authority I was agog when an idiotic councillor with a love for the weed, insisted on rearranging the already inadequate office space to allow staff to have a smoking room. I don't recall her asking for a room where drug addicts could shoot up, or for a row of optics to hang from the wall in case an alcoholic needed a fix between their liquid lunch and the end of the working day.
I have an over sensitive snout and throat; it was part of the imprint created by my father's ultimately deadly habit. I find it difficult to walk behind someone smoking on the street if the wind blows the smoke my way. I can't wait at a bus stop with smokers, or be near anyone desperate to light up as they step from a train. I don't despise them for their habit, I just can't stand the physical assault it makes unknowingly or not, directly on me. And I hope for all our sakes that the ban will help more people give up the noxious weed.

6 comments:

mutterings and meanderings said...

Oh dear, this is the second blog of a 'friend' I have clicked on tonight in this tone.

I stopped over a year ago but I cannot stand this 'thou shalt not' from our dear ruling party.

'Thou shalt not breathe without thy own personal oxygen tank (which we will charge you for)' is likely to be just round the corner ...

mountainear said...

'Hear, hear' to that, given smoking's proven and deadly statistics.

I read in the Times yesterday morning that flour was a constituent part of the detonator of car bomb found in London on Friday.

Will home baking be next on the list of out-lawed activities?

Yorkshire Pudding said...

This piece was written with such true feeling and I noticed your brief reference to your father's death so I can tell absolutely that your abhorrence of smoking is far from superficial. These words must have been hard to write. It's not about being "holier than thou", it's just telling it like it is.

J.J said...

I'm 100% in agreement with you Mopsa. I see what years of passive smoking has done to my mum's health. And when I did go to a lovely pub yesterday even the smokers I spoke to were happy about the ban. Coming out not reeking of other people's poisonous weed was wonderful.

Flowerpot said...

I agree, Mopsa. I smoked for about 20 years but having lousy circulation, I was told I could lose my legs when I was in my 30s. Thankfully that never happened and I gave up 11 years ago. Don't regret it for a moment. It was lovely to go to our local last night and not be blasted by fumes.

Mopsa said...

Thanks for all the comments - let's just wish all those struggling smokers out there trying to give up all best wishes for a permanently successful endeavour.