As the city gets colder and fall inches toward winter, standing outside to smoke a cigarette becomes a lot less relaxing. Instead of enjoying the nice weather as a break from my office building’s stale air conditioning, now I can’t wait to finish my cigarette and retreat into the warm heat of the lobby.
And when the air gets frigid, a smoker sometimes can’t even tell if the smoke in front of his eyes is an exhaled puff or just his hot breathe.
A little girl walks past the building and sees a row of smokers huddled inside their jackets, breathing puffs of grey smoke into the air. As if in imitation, she purses her lips and forces her own cloud of “smoke” into the air to mingle with ours.
A fellow smoker standing next to me shakes his head and says, “You don’t wanna be like us, honey.” Then he takes another pull from his cigarette.
The little girl looks at us, frowns, then skips away to join the rest of her family at the corner.