No Smoking signs are a joke in Seattle. As I walked toward three people smoking at a No Smoking sign, I saw the one closest to the road blow smoke all over the sidewalk. Smokers like this infuriate me because they disrespectfully ruin public perception with negligent behavior, unaware of any pain they cause by forcing others from their sobrieties. Approaching fast, I kept my intense gaze burned on his eyes, walking closer, ever closer.
He quickly turned away as I approached.
These are the ignorant smokers on smoke breaks, with no better place to smoke. I should have at least some empathy toward them. But I don’t. Having worked with many tobacco and cannabis smokers over the years, most are good, hard-working people that just need a private place to experience their own self-inflicted indulge. Their right to personal autonomy should only be tempered by group autonomy. So if it seems like their only congregational spot is directly outside the building, then what can I do but challenge their comfort? This particular example was ignorant laziness because there is an entire courtyard with a quiet smoking section that’s just a two-minute walk away and not at all obscure.
Now how about the rude dudes that just don’t care?
The homeless, or seemingly homeless, people that smoke in the streets or parks? The sort of introductory direct focus attack on polite society doesn’t work on people that operate outside of society. Why fear an individual when you’ve encountered the hardships of hunger, weather, and police? These are the sorts of people that I try to avoid and ignore just as well, because that disrespect digs deeper than just a lack of accountability for overindulgence in smoking, but applies to any sort of behavior that would apply to reason and reality. No use fighting people like that. But these are the people that most degrade the City of Seattle because below the glitter of a city of progress is a foundation of grime.
There are progressive and regressive changes within Seattle.
If people can go into a store to buy tobacco, cannabis, or any matter of drug from alcohol to caffeine, and do so without harming others in the form of reckless behavior, then I am a full, unabashed supporter. If I must justify to myself that my sobriety counters aren’t reset everytime I walk into a cloud of cannabis smoke on a public sidewalk, then the City of Seattle government has failed me and others like me, that fight daily for our personal right to exist without being forced into situations against our will. I may be a minority, and to be honest, I can do more to walk across city streets or be more aware of my environment, but why should I have to, when it’s a lack of personal accountability causing me to change?
Here’s my statement to Sobriety Resetters out there:
You have gained rights to indulge. Act with more personal responsibility.
You can act much better.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: My endless frustrations with Seattle.|
|Photo: A tree just outside of Pike Place and the Victor Steinbrueck Park where you can frequently force yourself to indulge in second-hand cannabis smoke.|
|Written On: July 26th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: August 6th [0 seconds]|