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Smoke Gets In My Hair

[If you’re a smoker, or my cousin L., please stop reading now, or be prepared to be insulted.]

I hate everything about smoking.  I grew up with a mother who smoked 1 1/2 packs a day before her mother came to live with us.  Mom then upgraded to two packs per day to keep pace with Grandma’s rapid consumption.  For many years my hair and clothes were drenched in four packs’ worth of smoke, tar, and nicotine--bleeecch. 

Personal hygiene aside, Mom died at age 56 from a disease exacerbated and complicated by smoking.  So I come to my tobacco aversion honestly.  I can’t stop anyone from smoking, but when I smell it, it triggers an immediate and organic disgust.  Which is how I came to be repulsed by the smell of a client that reeked of the stench I worked so hard to escape.  A nice enough man, he sat at my conference table releasing Eau d’Marlboro fumes and triggering my internal gag reflexes. 

Thankfully, he was just in my office for a few minutes to say “hello” and drop off papers, so when he left I was certain that the opened window and my deep breaths of icy fresh air would eradicate the stink.

But I was wrong--the rank smell was not just lingering, but emanating full blast.  I thought it might be the fabric covered chair he sat on, so I moved that closer to the window.  When that didn’t work, I was at my wit’s end.  My smoke-free environment was as unappealingly aromatic as one of Mom’s ashtrays in late afternoon. Bleeecch again!

Eyes watering, I unwillingly sat at my desk to prepare this seller’s contracts.  I opened the folder he left behind and was wiped out by the first whiff.  Every paper he brought me--his deed, mortgage, municipal certificates--aromatically announced that they had resided (until 30 minutes ago) in the file cabinet of a smoker.

Thank goodness for a giant two gallon plastic zip bag.  If I couldn’t have sealed the papers in the bag with a few drops of aromatic oil for a few days, I don’t know if I could have stood the stench for the three months of Mr. Tobacco’s transaction without an overwhelming need to wash my hair at least twice a day.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 22nd, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
smoking is disgusting
Lita,
I totally understand how much you were disgusted by the client whose smoking left everything in your office stinking of smoke.

In my job I have students all the time who come into my office reeking of smoke and they hang over my desk and I just want to gag from the smell.

I have no tolerance at all for smokers. It is a totally disgusting habit.
real_lawyer
Feb. 23rd, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
Re: smoking is disgusting
Having grown up around smokers, I have tolerance because I know how hard it is to quit. But that being said, I don't want to be within smelling distance of tobacco if I can help it one bit.

When you say "students" I immediately think of younger people. That pains me, because while my Mom may have grown up in a time when the effects of smoking were unknown, there is zero excuse for anyone born after 1970 to light up their first cigarette. It may be hard to stop but why the heck does anyone start?

Thanks for your comments.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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