I am back in Manila after a week-long training. I was soooooo tired but fortunately, I got to rest last weekend with husband. Thanks to everyone who kept me company and gave me hugs. I love you all… (blows butterfly kisses)
I’m not going to do a travel entry churva. I’ve been longing to do an entry on smoking and when I found a book entitled “Thank You for Smoking” by Christopher Buckley (now a major motion picture) in one of Cebu’s book sale shops, I finally decided to do the entry…in true “Bridget Jones is a Man” style, of course…
(stands up in the middle and speaks) Good day everyone. (everyone answers back with an enthusiastic “Good day!”) My name is Jerome and I am a heavy smoker…
Yes, my blog friends. I am not perfect. I have smoking as a vice. As I have said, I am a heavy smoker. I started to smoke at the late age of 23. I discovered that it can relieve me of my tension and stress. Ever since, I have escalated from sporadic smoking to 15-18 sticks a day. When I go on an alcohol binge with friends (which is very rare) or during events, I smoke almost 2 packs. (audience gasps) Yeah, yeah. This habit even became the cause of numerous discussions between Jher and I.
Basta in fairness to me, I am a RESPONSIBLE SMOKER. I smoke only in designated areas. I also self-regulate. When I know that someone will be affected by my smoking, I do not smoke or at the very least I walk away. When I go to establishments with my non-smoking friends, they are the priority when deciding whether to sit in the non-smoking or smoking area. I get out of my way to find the perfect seating arrangement giving consideration to meteorological conditions while in the smoking area with non-smoking friends! With all of these in mind, I feel that I have earned my right to smoke. Just like how non-smokers have the right not to smoke. That’s why I still get irked with people who, despite my efforts to smoke responsibly, still has the audacity to “instruct” me not to smoke. Here are some situations:
- Pizza Hut. I decided to eat at a table located at the smoking area where I gave up privileges of full airconditioning, unlike the adjoining non-smoking dining area. After ordering, I lit up my first cigarette and smoked away. I was on my 2nd cigarette, when this huge man whom I assumed was the father and husband of the child and woman seated at a table in the non-smoking section stormed towards me and shouted at me, “Can’t you see that there’s a child in the establishment? Don’t you know that second-hand smoking kills? Put that out…” Umatake ang pagka-pebrero ko, inuunahan ako ng sigaw! I calmly and confidently said, “I’m sorry I cannot do that. I’m in the smoking area.” Sigaw ng lolo mo, “But we can inhale your smoke over there. Put that out.” I lost it! I shouted back at him: “Then the structural and architectural design of this establishment is not my f#&*ng problem, isn’t it? I’m in the smoking area, that’s why I’m smoking here. If there’s a problem with how Pizza Hut was established, take it up with the manager. Oh, by the way…don’t you ever, ever, ever shout at someone in public. People who do that often times get killed. (Man suddenly showed fear. Now I have the power.) So…I suggest…SIR…that you go back to your family and enjoy your lunch.” Man walks away.
- In Cebu, we went to the Kahayag Café as recommended by my very good blogfriend, Karol. I love the place! Very artsy-fartsy. Reminded me of a bar near UP-Los Banos called ISIS. The interior is bohemian-inspired featuring different artworks and the now-famous “Lonely Woman” painting by the open-mic area. Yup! It had a stage where local artists and the audience can perform. And the prices of food and liquor are reasonable!!! Yehey! My kind of place. After my friends and I ordered, I lit a cigarette. This waiter came out of nowhere (just like in an action movie where secret service agents repel down a shattered glass ceiling) and informed me that it is a non-smoking establishment. Nanlisik ang mata ko, tinanong ko sya: “Bakit?” The waiter answered, “Because there are non-smoking patrons.” Sabi ko talaga: “Oh, that’s right! You need to take care of their lungs! But how about their liver given the fact that you are happily giving in to every customers’ alcoholic wet dream?” Waiter answered, “Basta non-smoking establishment ito.” Walk-out ang lolo mo. Syempre kami din.
I don’t get it, di ba? They want to protect their customers from lung cancer but they serve them liquor—most of whom drink like a fish. Bye-bye, liver. But love your lungs? (scratches head)
- One more thing that I really can’t take are the “preachers”…those who tell me in an evangelical, condescending, patronizing way: “I know you have the right to smoke. But didn’t you know that by smoking, you are slowly destroying your body? (sometimes they even insert, “…the temple of God”) You should respect your body.” Oh…my…god! I just walk away. I always believed that just like anything else smoking is a choice. And I made an INFORMED CHOICE. I know the harmful and fatal effects of smoking. But I still smoke in the exercise of my right to freedom of choice. MY BODY, MY CHOICE.
- World TB Day celebration last 2005. As a major consortium partner of the Phil. TB Initiatives for the Private Sector or PhilTIPS project, we were tasked to organize the Fun Run Against TB led by Fr. Robert Reyes, the running priest. When we reached the Makati City Hall, I decided to smoke. Fr. Robert was the keynote speaker. In his speech, he thundered: “I noticed that some of the project implementers themselves are smoking, not taking care of their lungs. How can you be credible in leading others to eradicate TB if you yourselves cannot set the example? I was formerly a smoker but when my brother died of lung cancer, I decided to stop…and sue Philip Morris!”
Whatda????? Ugh, recounting it just makes me mad. I don’t want to re-live my reactions to his statement.
- A sanctimonious bastard-slash-environmentalist approached me in front of Wynsum Towers in Ortigas while I was smoking. He said, “Did you know that your cigarette butt contributes to 20% of the non-biodegradable trash in the Philippines?” I asked him back, “How do you travel?” (bastard seemed confused) I clarified, “I mean, how do you get here and to where ever you want to go?” He answered, “I have a car.” I thundered, “Did you know that the carbon dioxide you emit from driving your car, regardless if you use regular or unleaded gasoline, damages our ozone layer every second which contributes to global warming that leads to the increase in sea water level that can cause major floodings? O, sino ang mas may atraso sa kalikasan ngayon?” Bastard was about to retort, but decided not to and walked towards his nature-murdering car.
Bridget Jones is A Man General Remark: Responsible smoking is the key to achieve better harmony between smokers and non-smokers.