Let’s face it. This is the wonderful city of Rochester, New York. It’s October and the cold front has already crept its way into our city. Upon stepping outside Anderson tower on one of my guilty smoke breaks with my suitemate, I was confronted with a sidewalk chalking I knew would evoke some musings. Written boldly and colorfully were the words, “No smoking within 30 feet of the building – insert international ‘no smoking sign’ here.”
I later learned this was written in front of almost every building on campus. First of all, is this really necessary? If I smoke 31 feet away from the building, will you be affected less? Probably not.
Even more so, it is October and if your window happens to be open, you are able to close it, whereas I have nowhere else to smoke that wouldn’t affect anyone.
While I respect the fact that some people do not appreciate a smoke-scented room, I do not appreciate being patronized for my habits. Do I run outside every time you blast your music loudly as you speed by in your car with an exhaust loud enough to rouse tranquilized animals?
No. Would you rather I smoke in the confinement of my own room so the smoke goes directly from my window to yours?
Furthermore, with talk of a smoking ban in the upcoming year the latter may not even be an option. I am getting the distinct feeling that those who happen to partake in smoking are slowly but surely being discriminated against.
So you say it’s a bad habit, harmful to others, and my selfish actions are infringing upon your otherwise completely guilty pleasure free lifestyle?
How about you? Do you drink? Smoke marijuana? Talk loudly at CLARC? Speed down Intercampus Drive neglecting stop signs? Surely you are putting others at risk with your actions.
Do you honestly think your ways are completely and totally not affecting others? When you stumble home drunk at an ungodly hour on Sunday morning, yelling profanities at the top of your lungs, do I sleep through it?
No. When you’re having sex with whomever it is you have sex with and can’t help but moan loudly and slam your bed against the wall and floor, am I not irritated?
I understand that some people do not engage in habits that put others at risk, and some do not even care if people smoke at all. You are the ones for whom this whole policy was instated after all. You just don’t want to smell the smoke and suffer the consequences of secondhand smoke, and you have every right to this just as I have every right to smoke.
You understand this and I respect you for it. I don’t care about the majority of the things you do, either. But I find it hard to believe that those are the people chalking up the sidewalks in a stupid, childlike manner.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that you do not want to smell the smoke, but do you honestly think writing something in chalk is going to change everyone’s minds about where to smoke?
If anything, it will only further infuriate those of us who already go outside. Junior Alexis Hammack, a non-smoker, stated, “If anything, the ‘no smoking’ lines point out how little space there is on campus to smoke.”
The rain and snow will surely wash away your futile attempts at enforcing a previously stated school policy. Who are you to go outside and chalk up the sidewalk? I’m serious – please e-mail me or find me, because I’d like to hear your point of view. Unlike you, I proudly display my name with my thoughts and beliefs rather than cower behind a silly public display of dissatisfaction.
Farkas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.