Wednesday, April 23, 2014

O Is for Odors

I'm just venting a bit here.

Last week, I told my therapist that I would be alone all day on Easter, because Becca goes over to her mother's on most holidays and I don't really do holidays. She asked me about that, and I told her that I had a number of reasons (my agoraphobia included), but what it really comes down to is: cigarettes.

My mother-in-law smokes constantly.

The last time I was over at her house, she smoked so much that it made me sick. It got all over my clothes and in my hair, and I had to take a rather vigorous shower that night to get the smell off me. I couldn't stand it. I already have breathing problems, but the smoke was overwhelming. It even gets in the food, and the worst part is, you can't complain about it, because she doesn't taste it and thinks you're being oversensitive or something. Of course she doesn't taste it; her taste buds are dead from decades of constant chain smoking.

Look, I'm not one of those people who looks down on others for smoking, like it's some kind of moral decision they're making. I just don't want it around me. I dislike this social idea from when I was a kid that it's polite to ignore it. I don't make a big deal about it. I won't start loudly coughing to make a point. I'm not going to judge you for smoking. I'm not going to come into your house and tell you not to do it. I'm just going to choose not to subject myself to it or let it into my home, because it makes me sick. And friends and relatives who smoke in their homes can expect to not see me over.

Seriously, everything I have from her smells like smoke. Becca took laundry over there on Easter, and she always tries to get the clean clothes right into the car, but it's not really enough. Now I have ostensibly clean towels that smell like cigarettes. She gets us extra food from the food bank, and sometimes we just have to throw it away. Last night, my wife threw out a box of candy--one where the candy was sealed in a plastic bag inside the box--because the candy tasted like smoke.

It permeates everything. I don't get why we're supposed to pretend it doesn't.

Like I said, I don't think it's a moral choice when you live alone and choose to smoke. I don't think you're a lesser person. And I feel bad saying all of this because, despite our rocky beginnings, I like my mother-in-law. She's nice. We're friendly.

I just don't want to go and visit.

ABC Wednesday


Reader Wil said...

My son was the only one who smoked. I allowed him to do in his own room. I refuse. to accept visitors to smoke in my house.
It's okay if they smoke outside.
Well nobody of our friends smokes. Neither do my neighbours.
Have a great week.
Wil, ABCW Team

Roger Owen Green said...

As you may know, my father smoked, despite a campagn by my sister and me, to get him to quit, which he actually did, for the last 30 years.

i have lived with smokers, as recently as 1986. Never again. I can smell the smoke of our next door neighbors - these are detached homes - when they are on the front porch.

I used to lie that I had asthma to avoid cigarettes in n elevator - I now have a mild form of the disease.

The best thing that's happened to me is the change of laws banning them from planes, restaurants, bars. Worst seat in a plane in the bad old days: the LAST row of "non-smoking", as though the smoke behind me was going to know to stop.

Autumn said...

I really have a hard time understanding why people smoke in their own homes. I know they no longer smell it, and I know it's more convenient to light up inside when you smoke a lot, but I just don't understand why you would subject other people to it. Most of my friends and family are non smokers, at my parents house if a guest wants to smoke they do it outdoors, my brother won't even smoke on his own balcony because it's too close and the smoke could blow inside and he has friends who don't smoke that may come over. Everyone always knows someone who smokes in their house and we all talk about how we avoid going inside or how they borrowed something and you had to throw it away. I guess I would never want to be that person to other people. I get worried when our house smells like wood smoke from the fireplace, I bought an electric cat box because I am so worried people smell that I have a cat. I guess I would just be ashamed to invite people over if my house smelled like that. I think there is a difference between judging someone who smokes (which I don't) and judging someone who smokes inside and subjects other people to it, I just don't think they are being very thoughtful.

That was longer than I intended and I still don't think I'm expressing myself clearly. I really don't think smokers are bad people, but that people should be more aware of other people and how their smoking affects them.