Just the other day I was explaining to Cee and Dottie how I don’t like the idea of strapping kids into car seats being a law and not just a guideline. I do think kids ought to be in seats and there is a lot to be said for a child safely strapped in the backseat while you enjoy a peaceful drive in the front. And I’m not even going into the safety aspect. But I do feel that it should be something you are taught to do and left to practice as you’ve been taught. I really don’t like the law being a shotgun pointed at me for something as basic as enjoying a drive cuddling my baby.
Similarly, I don’t know that I’m so much in favour of the smoking ban. It’s been a month and so far it’s been fairly effective in places like pubs and discs. It’s nice to go out with my hair loose and not come home reeking of stale cigarette smoke. On the other hand, I don’t know that I like smokers being hunted down like this. My prejudice against smoking is a personal one and I try to stand up for it but what I really want is better smoking etiquette taught in homes and schools and peer circles. Yes, I’m all for smoking and non-smoking zones in eating and recreational spaces and most air-conditioned offices anyway have separate zones for smoking, usually near stairwells or outdoors. But let’s not make lepers out of our smokers.
I will even admit that I don’t encourage people to smoke in my house, but that is entirely because a baby lives in it. Until things came to that I did have a flat to myself for almost five years, and I wasn’t a smoker myself for a good year of that. But I didn’t mind people smoking in my home before a baby entered the picture.
All I ask is that you request your hosts for permission before you light up. Move to an open window or a balcony if there are children present. Not carry your cigarette into public transport with you. Don’t throw lighted cigarettes onto the roads for them to burn holes in my saree. Check with your fellow passengers in the office shuttle before you light up – a courtesy markedly lacking my last place of work. It didn’t matter in the bigger vehicles, but it did in the smaller cars, especially when the windows were rolled up because it was raining. Why can’t these be taught in school? People will have their vices and the bigger fuss you make over them, the more they will be tempted. It makes more sense to me to teach young kids that while smoking is a stupid sort of thing to do. you might as well try not to add being obnoxious to it by following the rules of etiquette. It’s like sex ed. Nobody wants kids to have sex, but hey, since you can’t stop them, at least you can teach them what they are getting into.
On the other hand, this Big Brother approach makes me sympathise. To the extent of wanting to have a smoke just to thumb my nose at, er, Big Brother.