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Down the Smoking Alley

It was late in the evening.

I was working at my desk, going through the list of month end delinquent corporate clients when I got a call from my division head. He wanted to have a short discussion with the unit heads and managers before he goes off for a last minute management meeting tomorrow morning.So, there we were, all 5 of us walking towards his office with thick files in our each hands. I did not expect a boring session because unlike other division head, my division head was a very friendly, jovial guy who often looks at others (irregardless of race or rank) as his peers.

We quickly sat around a round meeting table in his room as soon as we entered. The division head joined us a minute later. For the 1st hour, it was a lively and serious discussion. Then my friend who also another unit head popped up the question “Boss, can I have a smoke?” The problem was then everyone in the room was a heavy smoker except for me.

My division head quickly ordered “teh-tariks” and “teh-os” for all us and brought in 2 ash-trays to the table. Soon, the air in the discussion area was filled up with cigarette smoke. The environment was unbearable for me because we were having the discussion in a closed air-conditioned room and I was having a bad flu. 10 minutes after they started smoking, my division head looked at me and apologized for the smoke. He told me that being a smoker, they can’t help it. They had to smoke when the need for serious thinking was required. The rest of them just smiled, acknowledging that what my division boss was saying was right.

Despite that, I was both distracted and disturbed by the heavy smoking in the room. My division boss in the end passed me a cigarette and asked me to starting smoking. It was joke but he had his point – why suffer as a secondary smoker (with 5 other guys puffing off the smoke on your face) when you can do the same as smoker. I of course turn his “offer” down – they stopped smoking for the rest of the session.

That was 4 years ago when I was still working in the bank…these days, I am working in “smoking–free” environment (thank God!) and it feels great. The only time I ever become a secondary smoker is when I go to a pub for a drink. So, for those who are trying to quit smoking, we understand your frustration (see the video below) but hang in there. It’s good for your health anyway.

By the way, I was “inspired” to write this after my lunch, after seeing a young girl (one of the college students) who took out a packet of cigarette and happily puffing away with her friends. Her lips were dark in color (No, I don’t think she had her dark maroon lipsticks on – it looked more like a stain) and whenever she smiled; her “very” yellowish teeth were very prominent to all. I lost my appetite after seeing that ugly toad.

(Filed under Tag: Health)


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