For some reason in the last few days everyone in my apartment complex who smokes has been stepping it up and filling my little corridor with the putrid stench both day and night. The weather is currently just about perfect for open windows though a little on the warm side, and I am having a very hard time not turning into a raging authoritarian supporter and hatching a plot to somehow force them all to go smoke somewhere else.
The problem is that they aren’t right outside of my window, they’re out on the landing outside their apartments, and the wind is blowing the smoke right into my tiny little corridor of a porch, and straight into my one window. It’s making me terribly irritable and feeling very trapped. I covet the time when I can have an open window instead of AC (or closed window/heater), for the economical advantages and for the ambiance– the feeling of being connected to the outside, the lack of the whirring dominating white noise of a window unit AC. I can hear the birds and the wind in the trees, and the water trickling in the neighbor’s backyard fountain. All of that contributes to a feel of freedom and relaxation, a sublime mood that fills my tiny little one room dwelling and makes the day go that much smoother. It’s one of the few comforting luxuries that doesn’t cost me anything, that I can have no matter how depressing my financial situation is.
Usually, I get a couple of whiffs of cigarette smoke maybe once or twice a day during the afternoon. I think perhaps there’s been a social explosion amongst the cigarette smokers and they’ve all started to come outside to smoke more frequently, and all together, and their massive clouds of smoke are FOR SOME REASON heading straight for my cozy little apartment.
For a while I tried to endure, figuring it couldn’t be that much smoke since they aren’t near my window. Eventually they’d be done with their cigarette and go inside and leave me to my clean breathable air. It’s just going on and on. I tried burning sage, which helps… for as long as I feel like burning sage. As soon as my attention turns to something else and the sage turns to black cinders, there it is again, invading my nostrils, infuriating my senses, the grimy nasty smell coating the inside of my nose and throat making me feel sick.
I know this feeling quite well, and I had long vowed to myself not to have to endure it in my adult life. Growing up my mother was an intolerable chain smoker, who usually didn’t even care to go outside to spare those inside of her dwelling. I had constant respiratory infections growing up that pretty much ended as soon as I got out of a smoke filled living environment. It’s more than just an annoyance, it’s an affront on my immediate feeling of well being and freedom.
I understand that people who smoke cigarettes are making a choice to slowly destroy their own health in a specific way, because there are tons of way to destroy your health, whether you even choose any or not. I know that to them it’s very pleasant and relaxing, because they’ve gotten used to it, but damnit it’s not the like the smoke just goes into your lungs. When you’re done with it, it moves on in the world and you have no control of where it goes. In such a small apartment complex, is it totally unreasonable to expect people to have some consideration in this matter? We have a downstairs courtyard that is totally open, no tight little corridors to trap the smoke and force into someone’s apt. Granted, there are units down there, but I don’t think the smoke would affect them as directly since it’s a big open space.
It makes me sad there are such difficulties with this small little complex. I actually like my little efficiency even if it is smaller than I’d like. I also adore my tiny little corridor patio and the huge wavering trees that block out all the sun from reaching it. This place has a lot to appreciate, but there are elements that are keeping me from feeling like I have control over my living environment. I feel trapped, and in a very small space. I want out, but I am sad to want to leave the elements that I appreciate. I want to love this place as much as I could, and in order to do that I need to feel that I can at least have control over being able to breathe comfortably.
Why do people have to like something that’s so disgusting? why is marijuana, a pleasant smelling smoke that doesn’t leave residue in your nostrils illegal while something that can immediate make a person sick is legal? Why can’t live just be all silly and harmonious and easy? I want to be able to live in a small, tightly packed complex with a random variety of humans and be able to relax and not have to contemplate where my freedom ends and another others’ begins.