Sunday, January 29, 2012


I am sitting here- looking out the window, watching a neighbour shovelling the snow from the end of his driveway.

Nothing too unusual about that.
Everything is as normal. as pie.
Canadian winter.
Shovelling snow.
An observer would note that he's shovelling with a cigarette snuggly stuck between his lips.
He puffs and puffs.
The air is blue.
The smoke rising above his head in the afternoon sunshine.

Eventually he throws the butt away and within a minute or two he lights another one and sits on the steps of his front porch his one free arm snuggly
around his dog's neck.
Does the dog stink of second-hand smoke?
The little pooch always does.
No wonder with all that second hand smoke.
The poor thing smells like an old ashtray.

Then there's "the wife".
The "non smoking" wife.
She is always ailing.
Aches. Pains. Coughs. Bad hearing. Bad breathing.
One never says - "Hi, how are you?" for fear of listening to a  litany of medical woes.
Of course the fellh smokes in "his" house and "the wife" is constantly around second hand smoke.
Does he care?

We hear he says- it's his house and he'll smoke if he wants to.
Now this neighbour doesn't talk to Tom and I anymore.
The wife does though.

You see, two summers ago Tom and I were on the front verandah here at Pine Tree House when a guy on a motorbike didn't make the corner and slide across the side street into the garden beneath our Maple Trees. We ran to his aid and the "smoking neighbour" came across the road- eventually, to have a look. He didn't stand there on the sidewalk watching this guy bleed and moan in pain for more than a minute before he lit up another cigaratte.
Tom lost it.
Tom told him in no uncertain terms to move away and get rid of the cigarette.
The "smoking neighbour" got pissed off, said an expletive or two in response and walked back home across the street.

He stopped talking to us all because of a cigarette.
Tom even sent an apology note- I don't know why, a couple of days later and received no response.
He still doesn't talk to us to this day.

 "The wife" does- when hubby's not around of course.
When we drive past the house, "the wife" still waves to us- when hubby isn't in the yard with her.
You may well ask why am I telling you this story?
It's because of that cigarette.
That smoke. That disgusting odour on him, "the wife" and the dog.
He smokes them one after another.
To see him without a cigarette would be like seeing him without his left arm.
It's always there.
He's always puffing away on that cancer stick.

Right now, we have a good friend who found out she has lung cancer. A tumour on her lung and some "spots".
She's doing treatment.
We are hoping for the best.
I can't help but wonder why this neighbour keeps smoking.
He doesn't know about our friend but our friend has been handed a death sentence whereas
he still appears to be healthy.
I don't know.
Luck of the draw.
The game of life and death.

Still, these days whenever I see him- or anyone else, with that cigarette dangling from his lips it makes me angry. Oh, not the fact that he doesn't speak with us- no loss there whatsoever.
I always told him to move away from me when he had the death wand between his yellow fingers anyway.In fact his whole skin has a yellowish tinge to it.
Smoker's skin.
You know, he doesn't have to smoke.
Nobody does.
Medical help is there for smokers.
They have to want it of course.

No, it just makes me angry that our friend who wants to beat this cancer and go on living is fighting for every breath she takes.
There's no cancer anywhere in her family.
She has to have oxygen beside her every minute of the day just in case she needs it.
Meanwhile there's the neighbour with a habit that controls his life, willingly and knowingly, polluting the air of those around him.

Where's the justice?

Who would I rather see have "the cancer"?
Bet you can guess...