A Short History Of Smoking

When the smoking ban came in it gave Sebastian new resolve to smoke.  Smoking in the rain has a certain dignity to it that complaining about second hand smoke doesn’t.  The moral high ground was surrendered.  Now non smokers are just people who never went out before, who don’t go out now, saying how much they love not going out and not smelling of smoke.  Very similar to before, except now smokers have the moral high ground – feels good; though admittedly a lot chillier.

Don’t worry though non smokers will be enjoying life (To The Max) when they’re 90; long after you’ve coughed your way into a cancer-soddened grave. 

There were downsides; you didn’t know who smoked and who did in sparsely populated bars and confusion would arise about your motives.  Sometimes, when you ask a girl for a light all you want is a light.  Sometimes when you ask a girl for a cigarette all you want is a cigarette.

 Some pub somewhere in London sometime between midday and midnight BtB (Before the Ban) this, or something not dissimilar to this, is occurring ad infinitum.

May I perhaps trouble you for a cigarette….

 Of course, just give me a sec.

The girl begins to rummage in her bag for a light that never existed and then looks up with a windowpane thin veneer of feigned surprise

Shit! I don’t seem to be able to find it – give me a sec…

 Nevermind I’ll just….

The girl coils her mouse brown fringe around her index finger and interrupts before Sebastian can finish.

 So what’s your name anyway?  Sebastian sighs, his eyes glaze over as he thinks of a distant future of self lighting cigarettes.

Its Belvedere the Second – now look, I’m sorry but I have explosive diarrhea that is about to erupt so I really have to run

In complete befuddlement the girl tries to piece together the information.

 Belvedere… the second?

Sebastian turns and makes for the toilets before he has a chance to hear her reply.

This is only one of the unwanted occurrences that occur when you are looking for a light; unwanted conversations.  It’s even worse when they actually have a light and you’ve the obligation to speak to them. However it can be worse.

Sometimes it goes like this;

Could I perhaps trouble you for a light?

No problem.

Man nearby smacks Sebastian in the jaw and he falls down.

Don’t fucking hit on my bird again or I’ll fucking kill you…. fucking poof.


A reminder that smoking has never been an entirely trouble free pastime.


About Paul David Beaumont

Occasional journalist, part-time socialist & full time International Relations PhD student. Available for hire - but never in the morning. Academia page: https://umb.academia.edu/PaulBeaumont
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