I got this in the mail today. I reproduce it verbatim:
A Week in the Life of a Disabled Senior Smoker who Lives in a Partially-Government-Funded Apartment Building for People 62 and Up.
Monday: Inspection. Every three months the building manager and maintenance man come into each of the 75 apartments to see that everything’s working as it should, and that the place is reasonably clean. Takes about a minute. It’s no big deal. I keep up with my housekeeping so I always pass. In fact, when the inspection was over, the building manager commended me on the great condition of my apartment.
Tuesday: Note stuck in my door from the building manager. Turns out I failed inspection because apparently the smell of smoke in my apartment was “strong enough that people could smell it when they walked past my door” and “corporate was here and they caught the scent of cigarette smoke by your door.” And “some visitors complained they could smell cigarette smoke in the building.”. I need to “deep deodorize” (whatever that means). Re-inspection on April 4th. Which will consist of the building manager sniffing the hallway and opening my door and sniffing. If it is deemed by the building manager (who happens to be an anti) that it smells too cigarette-y, I could be evicted (which would be the third place in 10 years I’ve had to leave SIMPLY BECAUSE I SMOKE – even though I pay my rent and other bills on time, and I’m quiet, very clean, neat and responsible. And I’m a nice person, darn it. You know something? A heap of glowing character references mean NOTHING if one is a low-income smoker. By the way – I only smoke at my computer desk, which is in front of two large open windows which face no other apartment, only look out onto a parking lot and woods, and are on the opposite side of the apartment from my door and the hallway. I am also the only smoker on the first floor. Nobody smokes in the hallways or in any of the common areas. I was informed that the previous tenants of my apartment – a couple – both smoked, and nobody ever smelled their smoke. (Which makes no sense to me. Of course, anti noses keep getting more and more sensitive) So I went out and spent $60.00 (which is a huge chunk of my monthly income) on extra strong deodorizing sprays, plug-ins, stand-up deodorizers, Glade, Ozium, Fabreze, etc. etc. etc., and every time I smoke, I spray, spray, spray. Which makes me wheeze. Because I have asthma, which is not at all activated by smoking. I also bought two disposable e-cigs, just to try them and see if they would keep my “analog” smoking down. They tasted like crap and made me feel nauseous. Blagh. And I’ve been keeping the windows WIDE open even when it’s freezing out. I feel so frustrated and sad.
Wednesday: Our synagogue’s rabbi called me and asked if I had some time that afternoon to work on music for her next service and talk about songs the children were singing for Religious School. (I play piano for services, and am a music teacher at Religious School). The rabbi is an ex-smoker, and a RABID anti. (She’s also anti-meat, sugar, chocolate, wheat, and all soft drinks, and never misses a chance to mention her sensitive metabolism). I told her she could come over and we could work at my piano. Immediately she said, oh, NO, the SMOKE, the SMOKE, I couldn’t tolerate the SMOKE! Now, she’d never been to my place before. All she knew was that I smoked. (And she was never shy about telling me how much I stunk when I’d return from an outdoor smoke break) I told her the place was aired out really well. So she came over, and as soon as she walked in the front door of the completely smoke-free lobby (which is a very large, well-ventilated and actually nice-smelling open space that is nowhere near my apartment and has no walls or windows or vents in common with it), she grabs her throat dramatically and says, “OH, the SMOKE – I can SMELL it – oh, it’s SO STRONG – my THROAT is closing up – COUGH, COUGH – GAG, GAG – And as we’re walking down the hall her nose is up in the air, sniffing, and she’s getting more and more upset, and the minute I open my door, she says, OHHHH, I can’t TAKE it – my throat is almost COMPLETELY closed up now – cough cough, gag, gag – we’ll have to meet another time at the synagogue. And she left. (I do take comfort in the fact that her contract wasn’t renewed).
Thursday: Went to the clinic to see my caseworker. One of my disabilities is chronic major depression (and smoking greatly helps me deal with that), and I see a mental health caseworker every few months. Nice guy. Ex-smoker. Increasingly anti. He informed me that the mental health clinic just banned smoking everywhere on its property, including the entire large parking lot, the sidewalks around the parking lot, and the two large gazebos that are a block and a half away from the building itself. I was dumbfounded, considering that every client I’ve ever seen walk out of there lights up immediately. I just have infrequent short appointments, so the ban doesn’t really affect me, but some of the clients, especially those who are in crisis, are there for hours at a time, and they use the gazebos to hang out, decompress, and smoke. I said to my caseworker, that’s just unfair and MEAN! He started in with, no, smokers are selfish and mean for giving others cancer, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc….. I just tuned out. This week was hard enough smoking-wise.
Friday: Friend (who I’ve known and been fond of for several years) came over to visit with his 10-year-old daughter. He took me aside and told me to not smoke anywhere near his little girl, or even take out a cigarette in front of her, because he and her mother didn’t want her exposed to anything having to do with tobacco, so if I need a cigarette to please hide it discretely and take it outside to smoke. Which involves walking down several long hallways, going through three doors, locking the door behind yourself, and having to use a keycard to get back in the building again, and going back up the several long hallways again.
SO – that was a Disabled Senior Smoker’s Week.
And that doesn’t include Saturday and Sunday! :)
Judy […in Virginia, who has posted here as “Jariel”. The town in which she lives, when she moved there 10 years ago, was quite friendly to smokers. There were smoking sections in just about every restaurant, and all bars allowed smoking. It’s now completely changed.]