The elephant outside the room

I dropped down for a haircut the other day.

This is noticeable because I'm not due one for a couple of months but there was a bit of a family do coming up, and Herself was getting stroppy about my ponytail.

Needless to say Jacinta from the hairdressers stuck her tits in my ear [looking for a bigger tip] while she washed my mane.  If gossip in the pub is right [and I have no need to doubt it] then those tits have seen more handling than a doorknob in a railway station, so she could forget the tip.  She also had the audacity to say that I was overdue a haircut, the cheeky mare, so I told her that it was only last May and that once a year was enough for anyone.

Anyhows, afterwards I thought I deserved a coffee, and it was a lovely warm spring day so I nipped over to the coffee shop, bought myself one and sat on the terrace outside enjoying my mug and a pipefull of baccy.

I was sitting there minding my own business when a couple of tourists came and sat at the next table.  Now they saw I was puffing on the pipe so they could have chosen a table at the far end, but no – they had to sit beside me.  The glances started.  I could see they weren't happy, but tough shit.  According to the law my place is outside so the corollary must be that their place is inside? 

A short while later a couple of cyclists came in with their revolting Spandex, clacky shoes and banana helmets.  They sat the other side of me so I was now getting dirty looks from both sides.  I ignored them all.

I was sitting there pondering on their miseries when a lorry roared past.  That got me thinking.

I did a little bit of mental gymnastics which I must admit involved a little guess work and a spot of corner cutting.

I assumed the lorry had an engine capacity of around 16 liters.  Being a diesel engine [and not a 2-stroke?] I assumed it displaced 4 liters of exhaust per revolution.  I assumed it was doing around 1000 revolutions per minute which means that every minute it was pumping out around 4,000 liters of exhaust per minute or 67 liters of carcinogens every second.

Now for the other side of the equation.

I assumed the volume of breath I exhaled to be around 0.5 liters.  I assumed about 20 breaths per minute, so that means every minute I would exhale around 10 liters.  That sounds about right?  That comes out at around 0.2 liters a second.  Exhaled smoke is heavily diluted and I don't exhale smoke with every breath, but I'll be generous and say that 10% of the exhaled air was tobacco smoke which means I was breathing out 0.02 litres a second.

So there we have it.  A lorry produces 67 liters of shit that is definitely unhealthy, and I produce 0.02 liters of harmless odour.

And I'm the one getting the dirty looks?



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The elephant outside the room — 13 Comments

  1. That's just 1 Lorry/Lurry Grandad – What is the City of Dublin pumping out in to the atmosphere with all the Trucks and busses

    • I had to work in the centre of Dublin [Hawkin's House, God help us] for a number of years and I never suffered so many throat and chest complaints as during that period.  Once I moved out of the city all my health complaints mysteriously vanished.  Not a coincidence.

  2. Fine by me if Spandex Ballet get the biggest slice of the shit-cake – less for the rest of us. It pains me to say it, but the more the better….

    Still, I'd rather hug a pollution-eating tree than a middle-aged spandex clad bloke (any bloke, strictly speaking).

    • Those cyclists really freak me out.  The only reason they wear such horrible attire is they want to brag about how "healthy" they are.  Is there any other pursuit that apparently demands such weird garb?

  3. Sounds right to me. And why did they sit beside you other than the obvious who is that good looking older gent he must be famous thing? humm? they knew what they were getting.

    • My theory is that if they had sat at the far end of the terrace that they wouldn't have had the excuse to pull faces.  To cap it all they were Vegans which gives an idea of what I was up against?  Homo Sapiens desperately needs a healthy pruning to cut out all the dead wood that seems to proliferate these days.

  4. Ah yes, anti-smokers have elevated cognitive dissonance into an art form. Even if you'd explained it to them, GD, they would just stick their fingers in their ears and chant "La la lala la, I can't hear you…"

  5. But it isn't just sitting in a coffee shop terrace, is it? These cyclists are breathing in traffic fumes with every breath they take, not just a few puffs, when they are on the roads. It always amuses me when I see joggers running along the pavement of a busy road – getting 'healthy' by running but poisoning themselves at the same time.

    • And then they probably go home, have a nice relaxing bath surrounded by scented candles and wrap up the day with a fine barbecue.  But they are all "healthy".

  6. Had a recent encounter with a rabid antismoking nut case.  

    Setting: Outdoor dining area of a restaurant. It’s a place at which I’ve had lunch over many years. In the State in which I reside there is no ban (yet) on smoking in outdoor dining areas. This particular restaurant has [voluntarily] divided the outdoor area into half smoking, half non-smoking.  

    On this particular day I was having lunch with a friend at the usual table at the end of the smoking section. The outdoor area was pretty full. I had been there for well over an hour and had had maybe 4 cigarettes [I did notice that I was the only one smoking] At this point a group of 5, 3 men/2 women, sat at the end table of the non-smoking section, three tables away from me. They were at least in their fifties and, looking at the group after the following incident, seemed like a bland bourgeois brigade (BBB).  

    The BBB hadn’t been there for more than 10 minutes and I was having a cigarette, chatting with a friend. As I was chatting I noticed out of the corner of my eye someone approaching my table and flapping their hand (yep, it was a “hand flapper”). As I looked around it was a woman from the BBB table that was standing a few feet from my table, still flapping her hand “displacing” non-existent smoke.  

    As we made eye contact she spouted in an aggressive tone, “what you’re doing [smoking] is illegal”. I replied, with a smile, “it’s not”. She repeated emphatically, “it’s illegal!”. I again replied, with a smile, “no, it’s not”. At this point she decided to huff and puff back to her table. As she began walking away in self-righteous indignation, she left me with, “remember, it’s all about respect”.  

    “It’s all about respect”?? This coming from an ignorant, neurotic, bigoted nitwit that went out of her way to confront a complete stranger and making baseless, inflammatory accusations.  

    But little Ms Superior wasn’t finished yet. Back at her table consulting with her buddies, she called over a waitress to lodge a complaint about having to put up with someone smoking nearby. The waitress informed her that there was no smoking ban in the outdoor area and that the area was divided into smoking/non-smoking sections (clearly marked). This seemed to shut the group up of the overt whining.  

    I was there for another 15 minutes. It crossed my mind that Ms Superior, being a stickler for “respect” [giggle], might have made another visit to my table and apologized for her senseless outburst. Fortunately, I wasn’t holding my breath. Antismokers don’t do apologies. They only do explosions of [irrational] fear and hate, even with complete strangers.

    • Welcome Pontiac!  These people have been brainwashed into thinking that they are somehow morally superior to the low-life that smoke.  By rights, all smokers should be dead by now anyway and it is very inconsiderate of those who survived the Deadly Weed to clutter up the world. 

      My policy is to completely ignore them unless I am directly approached in which case I consider the gloves to be off and they must be prepared to get as good [if not a good deal better] than they give.

      • A well-told anecdote Pontiac. Manners maketh man, madam – you could have told her. You tipped the waitress who put her in her place, I hope?

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