You Don’t Understand

I hate it when people say that!
Especially when I do think I understand.

A bit of background:

Deeder and I arrived at the park at our usual time to find a guy sitting on the bench nearby the swings. We recognized him because he sits around downtown, usually with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He always has an old bike with him and a huge pack strapped on to it or laying beside him. I’ve always figured he was homeless. He has long raggy grey hair, he’s one of those old dudes who looks stuck in the 60’s. He only has one outfit, more torn looking by the month–I’ve always felt sort of sorry for him.

Fed up with his chain smoking habits and extremely annoyed that he’d be doing it in a park, not to mention by the kids play equipment I asked him if he really had to be smoking.

This whole town smokes, which is terribly ironic since they’re such organic health nuts!! Most of them are pretty courteous about their addiction–apologizing and hiding their habit behind their back.

I’ve never talked to this guy before so I guess he didn’t recognize me.

He told me that he lived far away from here and had biked 25 miles today, and 75 miles the day before. To my surprise I heard words of apology coming from my mouth!!

It wasn’t enough for him to have a girl with a baby say she was sorry for asking him if he had to smoke. He said, “No you don’t understand. I’m 65, you can’t understand how that is–it’s hard to bike that far when you’re as old as I am. I deserve to sit here as much as you do.”
Of course he had to smoke, he’d probably been smoking decades before I’d been born!

Feeling mad and boiling inside I slunk away not having the nerve to yell at him.
I wondered why he had to say that he was from out of town. Maybe he’s some crazy person who has dreams that tell him he’s doing things that really don’t happen. Or maybe he has a twin here that he’s visiting–some guy who looks just like him!

I do understand. Darren smokes, and that’s as close to understanding as I want to get! He says it’s not an addiction for him–that he just does it because he enjoys them. Kind of like how I always have an Altoid after meals and coffee in the morning. So I do understand. I could quit any day too, I wouldn’t be happy but I could stop. Thing is, no one has proven yet that Altoids or coffee can cause lung cancer, or any other possibly terminal illness.

Why am I so moody lately? Why am I still bleeding?
I don’t understand.

4 Responses to “You Don’t Understand”

  1. Wendy says:

    smoking has always been a mystery to me…why do something that you know is sooo bad for you! A lady today with 4 kids was walking around the zoo we went to smoking! We were behind her and smelling it! GROSS!! Wish I was brave enough to stay something to her!

    I hope that you are feeling better soon! Have you called the doc about the bleeding?

  2. Jennifer says:

    I usually don’t say much to people in public about things that annoy me, but smoking is one thing where I can’t not say something. Especially now that I have Aidan. My fave, “I choose not to smoke, and you are forcing me to do otherwise.”
    We have a “no smoking 25 feet from any public entrance” ordnance here, and I never fail to reiterate it to those who “forget!”

  3. Lauren says:

    I agree with the others about smoking. The place I work at night during the summers is an outdoor performing arts center. We have a wide range of shows::Concerts, ballet, symphony, plays…you name it, we’ve got it. They introduced a new ‘no smoking policy’ this year and have signs posted everywyere. Do people follow it? Some. Are they respectful when you ask them to move to the designated smoking areas? Rarely. It just drives a non-smoker mad.
    I enjoy going out to bars and restaurants on the weekends and now I feel I prefer to trek into DC to have a drink, rather than stay in Virginia (unless I can sit outside) b/c DC has gone non-smoking. Unfortunately Virginia will never adopt this idea, as tobacco is one of our cash crops. *sigh*
    However, just the other day we were enjoying dinner (outside) downtown and the man sitting next to us asked if we minded if he smoked. Deep down I prefered he didn’t, but I said, “Sure, we’re outside”…of course I regretted this decision 30 seconds later when the smoke came wandering towards me. At least he asked.

    I guess it’s just a lose-lose situation…It seems both smokers, and Non-smokers are set in their ways!
    Hopefully things start looking up for you! You’re probably moody b/c your body is going through a lot right now. Rest Up!!!

    Take Care!

  4. Lauren says:

    heh, sorry, didn’t mean to write my own blog post on yours :p

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