Tuesday, September 05, 2023


Due to the ill-health of my landlady's husband, I am smoking less than usual. He's in the front apartment, his wife attends to him with help from her siblings, as well as his middle-aged son who has come to visit. The door there is often open and there's a sign up saying to be careful because oxygen equipment is in use. The downstairs foyer is where people eat lunch at a table, and take coffee breaks whenever. I feel somewhat self-conscious walking past with a pipe to light up outside.

It's a mental thing. My apartment mate and I went out for a late lunch together yesterday, and I had a pipeful on the way back. Let it go out before we reached our block so that the smell would not spark any curiosity, and finished smoking it outside an hour later when the wind had become colder.

Today I'm going to skulk indoors but I'll be discreet.
At present I am the only smoker in the building.

Several years ago I was the last tobacco fiend at the toy company. Back in the fifties there would have been ashtrays on every desk, as well as martini glasses for folks not going out for lunch because of urgent projects. The design department and graphics would probably have needed a stay at the Betty Ford clinic after every product launch.

It was the beginning of the Meprobamate era.
Good for housewives and alcoholics.

I suspect that less psychoactive substances were used back then. There were no youtube or internet influencers, diet gurus, or life-style consultants. people smoked like chimneys, drank like sailors, and ate jiffy dinners with ingredients that all came out of a can or a box. And, if you were anything other than an Alpha Male, popped pills to calm your nerves. Nervous people all over the country were at peace.

Of course the average person probably expired thirty years earlier than now due to liver disease and digestive disorders, so there was a downside, but that seems minor compaired to the modern era, in which the word "apoplexy" has been replaced with "triggered", and "anti-woke" indicates neo-nazi puritanism. All the religious nuts were still in rural areas.

I think the reason why we idolize the past is because it seems so golden on teevee. All those excited happy people keen to win toasters. Or consume canned meat with gelatine and salt.

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