At the Pride Parade on Sunday the woman next to us was smoking all over me. Normally I would just move away from her, but suddenly twenty-four years of speaking quietly and smiling politely and squeezing myself into a tiny space on MUNI so that the guy next to me can sprawl out came bubbling up and I said No! Not today! Today I will fight for my right to breathe the clean, sewer-scented air of this glorious city! Now are you going to move or am I going to have to move you?
Except what I actually did was tap her on the shoulder and ask politely if she would move. Which it turned out she would not. So I sighed and graciously accepted her gift of lung cancer and bad-smelling hair.
A lot of my friends smoke, and I myself have been a smoker from time to time, or anyway I’ve smoked from time to time, so up until now I have always subscribed to the idea that people have a right to pollute their immediate environment even as people have a right to not pollute it. But why is that true? We don’t walk around shitting on the sidewalk (except in this city) so why are we allowed to blow noxious fumes into the air? I’m going to take a stand and say that I’m against it. But due to the magical power of hypocrisy, none of that will stop me from smoking cloves until I’m sick the next time I am drinking.