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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Say What?

Today I had to go to city hall to get something done. It was a short trip, so I took a taxi. The taxi dropped me off at the handicapped entrance to our city hall because the main entrance is up a large flight of stairs. I went in, had my meeting, and then called the taxi service to pick me up. They told me there would be a 15 minute wait, so I went outside in front of the handicap entrance to sit on a bench in the sun.

Now doesn't that sound pleasant? It's warm and sunny and the trees are turning and all I wanted to do is get a bit of color on my face and sit quietly minding my own business. But no. That didn't happen.

Guess where the city hall smoking section is? Right in the handicap parking area. Because after all, who should be exposed to ten hardened women dragging deeply on their ciggies than the handicapped people? It's a perfect match, right?

When the first woman came out, lighting up the second she hit the fresh air, I asked her to please not smoke right in front of me. She gave me one of those "you frigging bitch" looks and moved to the side a bit. Then another and another and another woman came out, all lighting up the second their feet hit the stairs. Soon there were 10 of them in a cloud of smoke.

Me? I was choking and coughing so hard that I started to heave. Did them move? Why no, they did not. I couldn't move. I was waiting on a taxi and that was the only bench out there. But they could have gone elsewhere especially after they heard me choking and heaving.

I'm terribly susceptible to smoke. My heart just can't take the irritation. My asthma kicks in, I spend the entire day coughing and gasping for breath because my lungs are so irritated. I know that it's my problem and I shouldn't expect the rest of the world to aquiesce to my health issues. But geesh, second hand smoke is irritating when there is just one smoker. When there are 10, and there is a woman sitting in the handicap area waiting for a ride, get a frigging clue. Why do you THINK she's choking?

I hate cigarettes. Hate them with a passion. They do terrible things to my health and welfare. I understand that it's hard to give up an addiction. I'm cool with that. If you want to smoke, do it some place where it does not bother other people. But when someone asks you to move and the starts coughing and choking, move more. You're infringing on her air. Go away.

I just can't believe that city hall has designated this, of all places, to create a smoking area. There's a lovely space on the lawn in the back of the building that nobody goes near. How about that as a good spot? But not right in front of the handicap spaces. It's yet another thoughtless gesture that assumes that all handicaps are physically apparent. They are not.

Excuse me while I use my rescue inhaler for the 4th time in 3 hours. Frigging smokers.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Doodle Bean said...

I have this problem also. What I have found works is get upwind whichever way I can and just keep telling them their smoke is polluting the air we all share. The term "civil society" is also a good one to use -- over and over and over again.

There's a good chance they will think you are crazy and move away. If not, at least you vented. But despite handicap, you have to get upwind. That is crucial.

You may also want to get tested for tobacco allergy. If you are allergic, as I am, a different type of inhaler might help you better than the albuterol.

13/11/07 9:50 PM  
Blogger moon said...

I was a smoker for 20 yrs and I ALWAYS tryed to be considerate..I always asked anyone around me if the minded I smoked or if I was too close...I never wanted to impose my filthy habit onto others. Thankfully I quite 3.5 yrs ago..was very hard for me, as I was a heavy smoker...and understand how difficult it can be for some to quit but there is no excuse for bad manners or rudeness in ppl, smokers or not!!

14/11/07 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this oridance:
http://www.ci.newton.ma.us/legal/ordinance/chapter_20.htm

15/11/07 6:22 PM  

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