26 May 2005 - Thursday

The day the ambience died

This morning at school, I finally retreated to the indoor student lounge instead of spending the day on the wooden deck outside. The atmosphere in the lounge -- with a constant drone of vending machines and a dingy greenish light from fluorescent bulbs -- was much less pleasant than the sunshine I had been enjoying. I didn't get to watch the squirrels and grackles, or enjoy the breeze, or get a bit of a tan. There was one key difference, however, that made the move worthwhile.

In the abstract, I have no quarrel with smokers. I really don't care to get excited about their personal habits one way or the other. The problem is that my allergies are dreadful. I have nasal allergies that make me highly sensitive to second-hand smoke and skin allergies that make it unwise for me even to touch an unlit cigarette.

The outdoor deck at ACC is where the smokers (and they are legion) go for relief between classes. It has the only outdoor seating at the school, so everybody has to share it. I have a mild reaction to the place even when nobody else is there; when more people arrive, the place can be unbearable for me. Since I get more and more sensitive with continued exposure, this probably means I won't be able to use the deck at all in a few days.

I had the same problem last summer. At some point, I simply stopped going outdoors at break time -- the air was far fresher inside. Worse, however, was the fact that my class had several smokers in it. When they came back inside after the mid-class break, they brought lingering smoke with them. I found it difficult to breathe for the rest of the period.

The move I made today will probably be permanent. I simply don't want to deal with the problem at all anymore; yesterday, I was itching all evening after spending two hours in the "fresh air" that morning.

I don't want to dislike smokers. I really don't. It's just that I have to avoid them and the ground they've stood on recently. It's annoying.

| Posted by Wilson at 21:22 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Life Desk