I smoke. There, I said it. Ridiculous anti-smoking laws are imposed upon me, I play ball. Fine, no problem. In a state that was already largely smoke-free, they decided to make it illegal to smoke in public just about anywhere besides your car.
Okay, fine. So I’m at the hospital with Grandma and I need a smoke. I excuse myself and walk the maze of corridors to the exit and find my way to the car. No one’s around and that’s good, I really wanted to enjoy this few minutes in peace. With a huff, I flop down in the driver’s seat, shut the door, put down the window and light up.
Immediately after this, I can her someone getting into the truck next to my Bonneville. After a few minutes of peaceful enjoyment, the window of that truck goes down and I hear a soft little, “ahem.” That couldn’t possibly be for me, so I ignore it and continue enjoying my trip to Kool country. Then, I hear that blatantly fake coughing that every smoker knows as the most passive-aggressive way possible to say, “your smoke is offending me.”
So, not moving my head from the headrest, I turn toward the offending sound. There, giving me a look like I had just eaten her children and vomited the bones all over the guest towels, sits a middle-aged woman in an SUV, holding her cell phone away from her face. I quirk an eyebrow at her, a silent inquiry.
“Could you put that out? I’m trying to have a conversation.” Tone nasal, bordering on anger.
Being the helpful and accomodating type that I am, I roll my eyes and turn away.
“Sir, I’m trying to tell my daughter about her grandma.”
I had to respond this time. “Then you ought to get on with it. That sounds like a private matter, though, you should probably close your windows.”
There was a scoff, some cursing, a slam of the truck’s door and I see the lady storm over to the little outdoor common area outside the hospital where she finishes her phone call and goes inside again. I spend a few brief minutes finishing my cigarette and reflecting on what an idiot she was, field strip the cigarette and toss the butt in my car trash bag. When I walk through the door, a four-foot tall lady comes from behind the reception desk and speaks to me.
“Sir, were you smoking outside?”
I nod, taken aback by this tiny old lady’s tone.
“Our hospital campus is smoke-free, Sir. You may not smoke on the premesis.”
“I’m not allowed to smoke in my car?” I ask, the question genuine.
I get a curt nod, “Yes, but you were sitting on the benches outside. You can’t smoke there.”
“No, I was sitting in my car.” At this point, I’m so fed up with the whole thing that I just walk around the little woman and brave the maze again. I never heard anything more about it.
I guess what I’m stuck on is why the lady in the SUV rolled down her windows when I was clearly in my car, enjoying a smoke in the most legal manner I know, and decided to have a go at me for it. She apparently interrupted a fairly important phone call to do it. For the love of God, kids, whatever happened to “live and let live?” I’m not disturbing anyone. If you want to get angry at someone, have a go at the bad smokers. The ones that throw their butts everywhere or smoke inside a closed car with kids in the back. Leave the people that are just trying to take a break from their lives alone.