this is the first wednesday of the wonderful new anti smoking laws. after passing up offers to go out for a few weeks before – why deal with smoke when i soon wouldn’t have to – i was beginning to wonder if it was a horrible mistake and laws were only changing in england. that was all i could find media on.
so i was a little nervous of disappointment tonight, as most of the household trouped up to the sly fox. on walking past a huddle of smokers on the pavement, i felt a strange mix of revulsion and elation. it smelt so bad, but could only mean one thing: they’re real, the laws are real, they’re being taken seriously, the day has finally come!
inside, the place became packed. many people i knew were there. i got many complements on my good old favourite red dress, and lots of attention for the collar i was wearing, with a double layer, red press studs and short spikes. several people wanted to know if i sold them. the frisson of alter ego discussion continued. a few people i didn’t know said hello to me, apparently because i was wearing a red dress.
i stood in the front area, which is quieter but usually so smoky that i hold my breath most of the time. i took a deep breath. i filled my lungs with air as clean as it comes in sydney. without turning my head, surreptitiously searching for the best pocket of oxygen. without measuring my breaths. without covering my mouth. without analysing, and dodging, wafts of smoke.
i danced without coughing, and without half my brain and one eye logging the precise location, probable path and reach of each wildly swinging cigarette in view.
i went home without stinking of smoke. when i go to bed without a shower i’ll be able to sleep without stretching my neck unnaturally so as to keep my nose as far away from my body as possible. when i take my clothes off i don’t have to dump them over the bath rail in a futile attempt at airing; i can put them in the washing pile without it stinking out my room and needing to be washed twice. i’ll wake up with no more goop in my head than i already would’ve had, and when i get up and have to put on the same coat i wore last night, i can do so without asphyxiating myself for a week, and generally smelling disreputable.
i can breathe.