You remember those, don't you?
Two young people who have grown up in the last twenty five years or so cannot imagine a time when it seemed everyone smoked. They stare at me in astonishment when I explain that I used to be sent into the gas station to buy cigarettes for my mother at the age of 8 or 9. They look at me with disbelief when I tell them that in junior high there was a "smoker's pit" outside the cafeteria where smokers (teachers AND students) could go to smoke. You would think I had two heads.
My daughter picked up one ashtray weighing 10 pounds or so and gave me a quizzical look.
"It would have sat on the coffee table, probably part of a set that included a lighter and cigarette case."
"Who needs room for 60 cigarettes?"
"Think cocktail party, but it would have been a decorative piece left on the coffee table."
It was a different day. I recently called my son into the room to see a hospital scene from an old movie I was watching where the patient was smoking in bed while he talked to the doctor. He was dumbfounded. One generation can make such a difference. The smokers have gone from being
completely socially acceptable to a kind of societal pariah, banned from nearly all public spaces, including recently some outdoor ones. When traveling not long ago and making my way through the Frankfurt Airport I saw that in Germany, they have taken to relegating the smokers to cages...of sorts.
Seeing this made my inner child (who spent one too many hours trapped in a car with two smoking parents) very happy.