Changing Perspective on How to Deal with The Persecution of Smokers

Regular readers will be aware of my take on the ban on smoking in airports. That ban is particularly onerous since one has to hang around for a long time before one’s flight departs. Further, one cannot smoke on the aircraft, or in the airport of arrival. Regular readers will know that I have a strategy for dealing with that problem.

As it happens, Manchester airport has smoking areas. Terminal 1 has an area which is on the ground floor. You have to go down stairs or use a lift to get there. In effect, you leave the building and enter a metal cage. Inside the cage, there is a minimal attempt at providing a sort of seating. In Terminal 2, you have to go upstairs into a similar cage. That also is furnished absolutely minimally.

Needless to say, those arrangements are an insult to our worth as paying passengers, but we have no alternative. Better that than nothing. We must accept that airports are so big and so isolated that they are a virtual monopoly in any given area. Why else would so many businesses want to pay a fortune to rent space in them? And why else would your ‘road’ to the departure lounge pass snakelike through the shopping mall? It always amazes me, when passing, snakelike, through the shopping mall, how many people loiter there. Why do they do so? It makes no sense. Are they so ill-prepared that they have not put a swimming costume into their luggage? Or do they not possess a pair of sandals before going on holiday? I can understand people passing the time by looking, but I cannot understand anyone buying. Or is it more a question of big retailers having a presence, and thus projecting a superior image? If so, then it totally fails to impress me.

I have a very good inkling that Manchester Airport only produced smoking areas because of delays in flights. I remember once when we boarded our aircraft and a trolley-dolly made a mistake. She was supposed to ‘cross-check’ that the doors were locked. She made a simple error without thinking. She opened the door! Shit hit fan. The chute deployed. We could all have slid down the chute into the sea, had the aircraft been on the surface of the sea. But we were on the tarmac of the airport. We had a five hour delay while a replacement ‘unit’ was flown up to Manchester from Luton. Needless to say, smokers like me drifted to various empty part of the airport and lit up. I did that more than once. I was prepared for the eventuality of being approached by an apparatchik – “What the fuck do you expect me to do when you have imprisoned me in this God-forsaken emporium? Who the fuck do you think you are? Where are you’re gun toting ‘security officers’?”

But, if matters proceed as normal and as expected, I have full control of my ‘addiction to tobacco’. That is a contradiction. You cannot ‘control’ addiction. The definition of ‘addiction’ requires that the behaviour is uncontrollable. What I mean is that I have become accustomed to not smoking in aircraft, just as I have become accustomed to not smoking when I go to bed, and not waking up every hour, desperate for a smoke. I have control of myself and my desires.

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There is a point to the above diatribe.

Last night, we had a family gathering. The occasion was the post-wedding reception of our nephew’s daughter’s wedding. It was jolly good fun. Remembering that the area in which we live is deepest Lancashire, people should not be surprised to learn that the ‘refreshments’ consisted of either Lancashire hot pot or curry. And jolly tasty they were!  But my essential point is that I determined not to allow myself to be bothered about the indoor smoking ban. The result was that I quite happily sat with the relatives and drank, laughed and jollied with much fun without the slightest interference from the smoking ban. Why no interference? Because it just did not matter.

Some time ago, I recounted the tale of the 50th wedding anniversary of herself and I. The family arranged a posh meal at a local ‘haute cuisine’ restaurant. I determined beforehand that I would not bother AT ALL about smoking. Not once, during the four hours or so, did I bother to go outside for a smoke. I was disciplined and it did not bother me at all. Last night was similar – I was disciplined in my mind. I sat and drank and ate and laughed and, from time to time, popped outside for a fag, along with others.

In both cases, I made up my mind, just as I made up my mind about smoking in airports and on aircraft. Smoking Bans do not apply to me because I have made up my mind. MADE UP MY MIND.

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Which leads me to the title of this post.

The ‘walk of shame’ is when one takes out a fag and walks to the door to go outside. That is ‘the walk of shame’, and we pub-going smokers resent that ‘walk of shame’.

What I am proposing is that we treat that ‘walk of shame’ in the same way that we treat the walk to the toilets when we want a pee. There is a difference since we are forced to undergo the ‘walk of shame’ to go outside for a fag, but we are not forced to go to the bog. But is that true? It is not true. We could pee where we stand if we wish to. Only convention directs us to take the ‘walk of shame’ to the bog.

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So what can we change within our own minds?

I went to my local pub tonight. It is Sunday, and, for years, there has been a keriokie night on Sunday. It used to be popular, but has died in the recent past. Even so, there were a dozen or so regulars, and it was always amusing.

The pub bosses decided to terminate the keriokie last weekend. Thus, tonight, the number of people in the pub consisted of 2 couples, a guy called Eddie and me. After a while, one couple left, leaving 1 couple, Eddie and me. A few minutes later, I left.

So what can we change within our own minds?

It is very simple and it is this. All the stuff about the health of bar staff is junk. We can be pro-active in our thinking within the law. We smokers can decide to go outside to have a fag because our tobacco smoke smells and upsets non-smokers. Thus, when I went outside for a fag with so many people inside, the two couples and Eddie, I did so because of the horrible, life-threatening smell that those people might have to suffer. I am a considerate person. If my tobacco smoke upsets others, then I’ll not smoke in their presence. Thus, even if there was only Eddie alone in that huge pub, I would consider his feelings.  Even though I am standing 10 metres away from him, and even though he might not give a toss about me smoking, or the smell, I will not smoke in that place.

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I DECIDE where I will not smoke. I DECIDE. I DECIDED last night not to let the idea of a smoke into my mind when I was enjoying the pleasure of being intimate with my relatives. By that, I mean briefly talking about my deceased sister and her deceased husband, the parents of the parents of the couple who got married. We had a wonderful time.

So the new idea is a sort of Gandhi revelation. We passively resist. Let the quack academics produce their fraudulent surveys, studies and research. Who cares? We shall carry on smoking because we wish to do so. AND WE SHALL DECIDE TO DO SO FOR OURSELVES. We shall also decide not to do so for ourselves, taking into consideration the nasty punishments which would ensue if we did not conform. But at all times, WE shall decide. We shall decide whether or not to comply. We may or may not. If we decide ‘not’, then we shall accept the need to be Gandhi-like. We shall accept that Public Health controls Cameron and not vice-versa. We shall accept it, but we shall decide for ourselves what is legal and what is not. WE shall decide what the law is, and we shall do so by passive disobedience.

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Enough for tonight, but there is much more to be seen. For example, who decided that the vast majority of the people, those with the least ‘assets’, should pay taxes to protect the wealth of the elite?

Goodnight.

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7 Responses to “Changing Perspective on How to Deal with The Persecution of Smokers”

  1. elenamitchell Says:

    I have decided that I won’t eat out unless the restaurant has tables outside, which our very nice local Bar and Restaurant has.
    I have never smoked while other people with me are eating, unless they do.
    Fortunately The French in general at dinner parties have large gaps between courses during which everyone lights up and smokes furiously.
    The occasional non smoker never complains, not even if it’s the Host himself.
    I never go to Brit non smoking dinner parties because I refuse to go outside, or to sit through four hours of non smoking drivel that passes for non smoking conversation.

    • junican Says:

      The important thing is that YOU make the decision. You do not accept that other can decide for you. Thus, your decision not to eat at restaurants which do not cater for you is perfectly understandable. Not catering for your wishes is not dissimilar to the prices being ridiculously high. I enjoy my holidays in Mallorca and the cost is acceptable to me. I do not wish to go on a world cruise. It would cost a fortune and I would get bored. Imagine going on such a cruise and finding that smoking is forbidden everywhere, even if you were to fall overboard! So it isn’t just the smoking ban, it is the whole ambiance.

  2. Jude Says:

    Interesting take on things Junican. I used to give the excuse of not attending social outings because of the smoking ban, when in reality I made good use of the ban when I had to attend various functions as it was an escape from the noise, and some very boring people, and gave me some peace and quiet away from the crowd.

    When I switched to vaping, I still went outside, not because of any consideration of others, (although I find smokers to be the most considerate people I know), but because I craved that break away from people.

    This really made me question why I felt I had to attend these functions in the first place, I had this weird habit of always doing what I thought others expected or wanted me to do, (that consideration of others thing again, something common in every smoker and vaper I have ever met), I came to the conclusion that I was done with pleasing others, and now do not attend these functions at all, unless it is what I WANT to do. My life is wonderful now, I know longer need to escape, I no longer need an excuse to escape, because I no longer feel the need to go in the first place. If I’m honest, I was always far more addicted to peace, quiet and solitude, than to smoking, which I simply enjoyed but didn’t actually need.

    lol maybe its just part of getting older, but I’ve finally learned to say no, not only that, but I now am quite happy to tell the rabid puritans to f*ck off and mind their own business when one of them thinks they are entitled to expect consideration from me, after all the years of compliance and consideration they quite happily shat on. This often shocks, particularly coming from a vaper an former smoker, and a woman, (girls are brainwashed far more than boys that they should be compliant and considerate even to their own detriment).

    Or maybe I just discovered that I really don’t like most people very much 🙂

    • junican Says:

      Well, well, Jude! I always thought that you were male! I associate the name ‘Jude’ with the song, “Hey, Jude,…” and with the biblical ‘Jude the Inferior’ (?). Is your first name ‘Judith’?
      Whatever….
      I admire your self-sufficiency. I do believe that the female of the species is better equipped to be comfortable in her own company than is the male. Men seem to have a greater need for socialising. I suppose that it is genetic – the need for the male to protect the females and the need for individually weak men to get together to combat predators.
      Funny that you should mention using the ban to get out of boring situations. I’ve done that many a time myself. “Really? You bought an ecig and now only smoke 10 cigs a day? Wonderful! And you feel much healthier? Wow! Excuse me while I pop outside for a fag”.

      I agree also with your thoughts about pleasing others. One of the things about the introduction of the ban in 2007 was that I realised that my vague ‘loyalty’ to my local was stupid. That my ‘loyalty’ had always been pathetically infantile. That I was just another customer. It really shook me to realise that ‘my friend, the publican’ had never been ‘my friend’ at all. It isn’t that his attitude was false, it is that it was superficial, contingent and temporary.
      You have hit the nail on the head. I too feel no obligation any longer to do what is expected of me. And that is what I meant – I do only that which I DECIDE to do. If that involves not smoking, then that is what I have decided.

      • Jude Says:

        Yep, female, although my name is Jude. Its often best to not add a specific gender when posting on the internet, I learned this many years ago.

        What gave me some pleasure when I switched to vaping, (as I have mentioned before, I live in Australia and smoking is incredibly expensive here, so switching was the best thing for me, I can enjoy my nicotine without the huge cost of tobacco), was that there were people of my acquaintance that suddenly decided they wanted my company, now I was a “non-smoker”, and the pleasure was in telling them that I didn’t want their company, because they were bigots, intolerant, and boring 🙂 (lol politely smiling as I informed them of my feelings).

        I let them know in no uncertain terms that I was NOT “one of them” now, and still preferred the company of smokers, even if I wasn’t partaking myself.

        I’ve always equated anti-smoker zealotry with a particularly nasty religious cult, and it is priceless to see the faces on those cult members when you tell them you haven’t “converted” at all, you have just CHOSEN an alternative “sin”.

  3. Brian Moore Says:

    Not all airports have a smoking area which to me is totally wrong!,
    l found Doncaster to be very good as when l enquired at the info desk what was the latest time l could go through check in the girl informed me to go through now as there is a smoking area there.
    Birmingham is terrible, no area for such a large airport! Stanstead the same!
    Will it be long before hospitals and pubs try the same thing?

    • junican Says:

      I know. It varies an awful lot. I think that Manchester introduced smoking areas so that smokers will go through security and spend money rather than standing outside until the last minute.

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