The nose knows

NoseThe windows are open to the cool evening breeze and I hear the sounds of people walking the paths from the parking lot to the buildings along with crickets chirping and some late golfers heading home from the golf course next door. And then from nowhere my nose picks up the acrid scent of the cigarettes of my upstairs neighbor. He smokes like a chimney, often just outside the door of the building, and I wonder if he has some sort of house rule against smoking inside. It seems unlikely because he’s very Russian and rules the roost. I just wish he didn’t stand outside my window.

The smoke bothers me, even the little bit that wafts inside. My nose can detect the smell anywhere and it makes me cringe. I’ve gotten very spoiled living here in the northeast, where there are many anti-smoking laws and regulations, and most of my friends are non-smokers. So I’m just not around it much in private homes, with friends, in restaurants. Mostly just on the street or where people cluster in packs outside doorways before they go inside.

When I travel to places where the norms are different, I find I want to take a shower, wash my hair, and put on clean clothes – yes, I know it’s picky. It actually is one of the reasons I’m reluctant to travel abroad now, which is pretty silly. It’s more than just the odor, though; although I’m not allergic to smoke, I am sensitive to it and can end up in a coughing fit when I’m in a smoke-filled place. Not a nice way to make a good impression in a new place.

I’d rather smell other things – a crackling fire, the fresh scent of clean sheets, tangy lemons, and yummy scents from the oven.