17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Smoke in the City

I battle the smokes constantly in this city. I have taught my daughter how to hold her breath when she sees a cigarette in her path. I try to walk widely around smoke-infested doorfronts or groups of people lighting up. As much as I dislike it, I don't let it get the best of me, I just make do. I am also SO grateful that cigarettes are no longer permitted inside restaurants, that I am less inclined to complain when more and more smokers hit the streets.

This changed during a playgroup outing on Tuesday.

It was our first free concert of the summer season. We sat on the grass and watched a band perform and then proceeded to the Shake Shack for the most fattening and gut-wrenching food in the city...well, that's what it felt like that day, as I was STILL feeeling my burger HOURS later.

Anyway, since we were the stroller brigade, we moved some tables and chairs around so that we could negotiate our strollers and our little people. We were a large bunch....8 kids and 5 moms...1 dad joined us too. We had a long table and we were a bit isolated from the rest of the Shakers.

Towards the end of our meal I smelled smoke. I looked around for the source, and about 10 feet away, seated at two round tables were two men reading the paper and smoking cigar-like cigarettes. It would have been alright, but there was a strong breeze blowing the smoke into the faces of our pregnant mom, 3-month-old baby, and the rest of us.

I wondered if the men even noticed all the strollers, all the kids, the reproductive belly nearby...I figured if they held such little regard for themselves that they were destroying their bodies through the habit of cigarettes, that they probably didn't care about us either.

I asked kristie: should I say something? She encouraged me to with very little enthusiasm, force or expectation. I quickly jumped to my feet.

Very nicely I pointed out that we had a pregnant mom and a small baby with us and that the breeze was blowing their smoke into our lungs. I then asked if they would mind just moving their table a little farther away, and I also offered to assist in doing that. The older of the two gentlemen didn't say anything, and the younger said: "Wow."

He said it in that way that I say WOW when a bus almost (seriously almost) hits my daughter while crossing at a crosswalk with a walk sign, the way I say WOW when a pedestrian in a hurry almost (seriously almost) knocks over my 3 year old as she is doing her best to negotiate the subway stairs...the way I say WOW when I feel like one of my children is in genuine danger.

"Wow." He moved the table and I think they might have even put out their cigarettes. As much as I wanted to return the WOW (with THAT tone) to him for putting our future generation in danger, I did not, and instead we actually got up and left just a few minutes later.


  • i feel exactly the same as you do about cigarette smoke and have ZERO tolerance for it. my girls haven't mastered the art of holding their breath yet, so they cover their mouth with their hands-- a little more obvious, but i don't really care! when we lived in boston, i thought there were SO many more smokers there. now that we're in charlotte, it's not as bad, but still enough to make me crazy sometimes! being pregnant and having asthma on top of it doesn't help things either!

    good for you for asking those guys to move. i would have done the same thing.
    posted by Blogger merathon at 6/05/2008 10:34:00 AM  

  • Oh yeah.....2 other "moments"

    When my daughter was close to 2 she was running ahead of me on the sidewalk and ran right into someone's cigarette and got a burn on her cheek. I can still see it sometimes if I forget sunscreen, it pops up on her little face.

    Also, our local playground, one of the best in the city, borders the back of our police station building, and one afternoon a cop was standing out there over looking the playground full of children and smoking. I wish I had had the courage to approach him, but instead I just went straight to the front desk and complained to a rather rude cop.....haven't seen anyone back there doing that since, but still....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/05/2008 11:45:00 AM  

  • Both our kids usually say something like this rather loudly and often to our embarrasment when we are near someone smoking...

    "Mommy! Look at that person smoking! Their lungs are going to turn black and they are going to DIE!Do YOU SEE THAT MOMMY???"

    And I usually whisper back "Yes that's true.." and lets just hurry away now so they don't glare at us!!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 6/05/2008 12:45:00 PM  

  • ditto to rachel-- we've had moments like that as well. "Mom, that guy's heart is going to stop working cuz he's smoking!"

    one time, my girls pointed out a man who was smoking and he overheard and said, "Yeah, don't ever start, girls!" It's so strange to me how they realize how bad it is, yet aren't willing to make the change to quit!
    posted by Blogger merathon at 6/05/2008 12:48:00 PM  

  • Merathon, if it was that easy to quit there'd be many fewer smokers in the world. Yes some people just don't bother to muster the willpower to quit but many more are simply addicted and can't quit on their own.
    posted by Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve at 6/05/2008 05:40:00 PM  

  • pdofe,

    I agree, I really try hard not to judge, because I am understanding addiction more and more as I learn about more and more people who are close to me or friends of mine who struggle with it...but I would appreciate just a little more etiquette when it comes to cigarettes around young, impressionables....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/06/2008 04:15:00 AM  

  • When we lived in Sunnyside, it was such a nightmare negotiating the neighborhood with a stroller in the evening hours when the Irish pubs were crowded....so many people outside smoking...it almost made me wish the law was never passed. In NoVA, you can smoke in restaurant bars and I have come out of restaurants and gone straight home to shower more than once in order to get the smell off of me. I'm loving the smoking ban these days and wish they would hurry up and pass it here already!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 6/07/2008 06:23:00 PM  

  • Thank you for this post Kage! Today I was at the free lunch in the park that the school districts do all summer & this guy sitting right next to his granddaughter & about 20 feet from me & my 2 kids lit up. I sat there for a minute feeling irritated, and then just stood right up, walked over & asked him to put it out. It felt great! There are even signs posted at this park that he is not suppose to smoke within 50 feet of the playground & he was. Thanks for giving me courage!
    posted by Blogger Suzie at 6/09/2008 01:18:00 PM  

  • good job suzie....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 6/10/2008 04:55:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home