My friend, the chimney

Today I was in a bad mood. And no, it’s not because I’m  a teenager – well, maybe a bit – but here’s something I’ve mentioned one hundred and fifty-three times before and I’m still very passionate about and I strongly apologize for being repetitive.

Let’s start at the beginning, children.

When I was in primary school it was all good. I mean, I was the small kid nobody noticed, but there were no rituals the cool kids would have and others would attain to become cool. Those rituals started in seventh grade – high school I think you’d call it. I didn’t notice at first. All I noticed was that there was an extreme hierarchy and I was at the bottom. After about a year I figured out why. Well, one reason for lack of coolness was drugs.

First I noticed them smoking on the corner and in front of the shop at the station. Just the usual stupid boys who thought they could live forever. Then it was my friend. Then it was the other girls from class, except for a few. Then I saw them turning  joints. And my friend joined in. Alcohol, cigarettes, joints and something I’d never heard of.

It was a shock to me seeing more of my fellow students smoking. And they grew together as a group. They’d bonded over drugs – great. Then it was the last evening and we all went down to the lake. Of course there was alcohol. That the first time I tasted vodka. It’s gross, by the way. And I didn’t have much. That’s when I saw my other friend smoking. She’d always said she didn’t smoke because her mother would smell it. She’d been smoking for a year by then.

Then I moved to Germany and I no longer associate with anyone who does drugs. Apparently everyone here has smoked shisha (waterpipe) (well, those who are cool). But I’m still shocked about the amount people my age and younger who smoke on a very regular basis. I’ve told you about my friend Michelle who smokes. I made her the offer that she could come to Berlin in May if she stopped smoking. Doesn’t look like she’s coming. And last weekend I found out that someone I thought was just really cool being himself smokes. That’s happened so many times.

I realize that meanwhile they don’t smoke to be cool. They may still feel like they’re cool, but it’s because their addicted, frankly. Who else would go out on the icy pouring rain to have a fag? Oh, no, sure they could stop anytime.

It’s terrible to see the little kiddies (they’re about thirteen) hanging around the corner, smoking secretly and feeling radical.

But I’ve always said I hate smoking and I used to hate smokers too. Now my best friend is a smoker – I don’t like it at all – but there’s more to her than the nicotine.

I can imagine them all twenty years from now, looking like sixty, croaking, coughing, grey, wrinkled skin, yellow teeth, hair loss, depressed, broke, holding on to their next fag, being diagnosed with lung cancer – pretty picture.

Yet it keeps setting me in a bad mood. For example today I was quite pissed off, to be honest. When all seemed fine, she said she wanted to get school stuff from the car. Of course they smoked on the way there because they take every chance they get to shorten their lives by another six minutes. It’s really annoying. Not only that they blow in into my face, but that we have to wait outside in the cold until they’ve finished and well, they’re killing themselves. I don’t like people I care about killing themselves gradually. Why can’t they just stop? Why can’t they try – seriously try. Not: One day you only smoke two cigarettes and the next two packets. I hate it. I hate it. I really, really hate it. And hate is not a nice thing.




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