It seems more than a coincidence that the increasing blandness of the cultural landscape and the eradication of smoking have proceeded together. For while many of the producers of today's entertainments are still smokers themselves, that activity is disallowed in their creations. As sanitized versions of reality replace the investigations of a Godard or a Cassavetes, a cultural hole opens up to compete with the one in the ozone.Incidentally, I have quit smoking, given that there are fewer and fewer places to enjoy it. Smoking is a habit of elegance, to be enjoyed seated, with a drink, not huddled against the wind, puffing between cupped hands. I refuse to be a smoker in that sort of situation. The inconvenience came on so slowly that at first I barely noticed it. In college, I simply had to put out my Camel (unfiltered, thanks) before entering the actual classroom. In my first job, I could only smoke in my own office. In grad school, a short-lived smokers' lounge gave way to the covered portico, which in turn gave way to the yard behind the quad. Now, 20 years after it began, my tobacco journey ends here, in this dismal town where the law forbids smoking in any public place.
More: Just got back in from smoking one outside. Wow! It's not so bad in the summer, you know. I can suffer through until late October, but then it's quits for good, and I mean it!