Archive for September 24th, 2007

A Good Solution For “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I entertained this past weekend at the reunion of a U.S. Army medical unit not unlike the M*A*S*H guys of film and TV fame. (I even spotted 1 Hawkeye, 2 Radars, and a possible “Hot Lips” in attendance.) Whatever lives these now-retired folks currently lead, they fell easily into the kind of salty, playful banter that could be politically incorrect elsewhere today. In fact, in many ways, it was as if they had gone back in time – a time when, say… firing up a cigarette in the middle of a crowd was common.

Which is exactly what they did. Anyone who smoked – and a half-dozen of them still did – felt no pressure to segregate themselves into a designated “smoking section,” exit the party for a few minutes, or suffer through a nicotine fit. They simply blazed up one Marlboro after another.

Which could have posed a problem for me. I’m allergic to cigarette smoke. Even a slight concentration of it passing under my nose causes my throat to constrict, making breathing difficult (and singing impossible.)

Fortunately, the same party planners who decided to let the 1950s Social Rules apply to smokers also made provision for the rest of us. They wisely selected as their venue the covered veranda of a country club. A series of strategically-placed ceiling fans prevented smoke build-up, and the evening breeze took care of the rest. Even smoke-a-phobics like me had nothing to complain about.

Because we had a roof over our heads, rain wouldn’t have ruined our evening. And – had the weather really turned inclement – we could have always gone indoors (well, we non-smokers could have.)

I for one don’t miss the “old days” when smokers were assumed to have the right to cloud the air the rest of us breathe. But I appreciated both the consideration and foresight of the reunion planners who made it possible for all of us to be together without anyone suffering adverse reactions.

Thanks, Hawkeye. Thanks, Radar. And Hot Lips, that was you, wasn’t it?