A couple of different episodes this week have led to this blog.
Firstly, on a train with my mum and both my kids in the twin buggy, two men boarded then started smoking joints. Older men, probably around 40-50. It was around 3pm. The carriage filled with the smell and I saw a woman angrily open a window. They were only on for about three or four stops but I was willing the ticket inspector to stay out of sight as I dreaded any confrontation if he asked the men to desist.
Secondly, I was out with both boys in the twin buggy again. I approached a bus stop and saw that there was a couple inside – the female smoking, sitting with her back to me and the man was standing to the side. I moved to stand at the other side on the outside of the bus stop so as to avoid the smoke, only to find I was standing next to a lady who was also smoking. Without saying anything, the couple in the bus stop moved outside. I think the man had seen and asked his other half to move. I then moved into the bus stop and sat beside the boys in the pram. Before my bus arrived, I became aware of smoke again and realised there was a woman in the bus stop, around 5 feet from me and the boys, smoking!!
So these episodes have made me ponder a couple of different things. The most obvious being smoking. I’ve never smoked. It’s easy for me to be judgemental and critical of the mums you see puffing away as they push their prams along or the adults smoking in cars with children in the back. I also hold my breath if I’m walking behind a smoker, or through a cloud of smoke. Is it possible that the people I’ve encountered this week, the smokers in bus stops and the smokers on trains, are completely unaware of the risks of passive smoking, or do they just not care? Am I over-reacting to want to move my own children away from their smoke?
The other thing which has been going through my mind is how best to handle these situations. Obviously at a bus stop I could move away from the smoke and that’s what I did, initially. On a train, however, my twin buggy and I are stuck wherever we fit. I was sending subliminal messages to the ticket inspector to stay wherever he was and not come into our carriage. It’s a sad indictment on society that I’d be too scared to ask them to stop, isn’t it? And also hoping that nobody else did to avoid my sons being witness to any drama?
I’m wondering how best to handle these kinds of situations in the future when my children are old enough to ask “why is that man smoking on the train?” as I don’t think “Because he’s a BAD MAN!!!” would be an appropriate response. How to explain that sometimes it’s best to ignore bad behaviour. A tough one.