driving through marlboro country

15 09 2007

smoking driverIt’s a common scene in my area. A school bus arrives a bit early to pick up the students. The bus is stopped a block or so before the bus stop – generally out of sight. The driver steps out of the bus and smokes a cigarette. Once finished, the driver reenters the bus, arrives at the bus stop on time and carries the students of to their school.

I have been around smokers my whole life. Some seem to ‘need’ to smoke more than others.  I remember working with a guy once who was teaching a class. It was his first day as a computer teacher, and was nervous and anxious to do a good job. He was fidgety & pacing frantically for the first 45 minutes or so. Suddenly, he called for a morning break & bolted for the smoking area outside. The students looked puzzled, and a bit put off – who could blame them. The day had just started, and they were anxious to learn – and they payed a lot for the class.

Obviously, this scenario is an extreme example, but it was real. All people addicted to cigarettes clearly have an internal ‘calling’ to take in more smoke. My question to anyone who reads this – and is either a smoker or is close to a smoker;

Does this ‘call’ to get another cigarette subtract from the whole consciousness of the smoker? If my child is on a school bus, and the driver is being ‘called’ to smoke, does it lessen his/her attention and ability to get my child to school safely?

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no thanks

6 09 2007

asian girlEarlier this evening, I looked out my front window and saw something disturbing. There was a very young Asian girl wandering around in circles. She seemed confused and lost. I watched for another moment or two, working hard to spot her guardian or parent. Surely there was an adult accompanying her. I would estimate her age to be somewhere between 2 & 3 years old. After determining that she was both lost and alone, I ran out my door to see if there was some way I could help her back to her parent’s arms. I approached her slowly. She was able to speak a little. I asked her lots of questions, and only received short, quiet and imprecise answers. She was confused, lost, and there was this strange bearded man asking lots of questions. Our neighborhood cat was walking nearby, so we chatted about the kitty for a while. Throughout our conversation, I was visually scanning the neighborhood – hoping to spot a frantic man or woman racing toward us. It did not happen. I repeatedly asked questions about family – Mom? Dad? Names? Cousins? Names? Then a familiar neighborhood name quietly fell from her lips. I recognized the name as a boy (also Asian!) who rides the school bus with Emma. I asked if that name was her brother. She said yes. I knew of another brother by name in that family, so I asked if she had any other brothers.  She said the second name, so I had figured out to which house & family she belonged. She allowed me to hold her hand and I walked her the block-and-a-half to her home. Climbing up the front stairs, I saw that the storm door was ajar. I knocked and was met by a father and son – one of the boys I knew from the school bus stop. I was pretty shocked by nearly no reaction to the girl’s safe return home. I explained that I found her down past my house, confused & alone. The father told me she was out with her brother. I explained that the brother was nowhere to be seen. Reaction – none. Reassuring hug for the little girl – none. Thank you for returning my daughter safely – none.