A Weekend at Home

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Athletes–from swimmers and ball players to runners and rowers–like to stay healthy and in peak shape. They believe in the basic principles of exercise and nutrition to maximize well-being. Inhaling cigarette smoke, first or secondhand, is not in the picture. Few top-tier sportspeople smoke any more. Did they ever? Statistics aren’t clear on the subject. I, for one, have never indulged, and I don’t even like to be in a room that reeks of smoke. If I have to for some reason, I run screaming for some fresh air. I wouldn’t dream of letting a smoker in my car.

You would think I could control my environment and where I chose to go, but visiting my family is an exception. I stay with my parents from time to time and they celebrate the occasion with a big group dinner. Aunt Sue can’t help herself. She lights up at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t matter when or where. My mother usually throws her out and points to a chair on the patio; but the night of the event was a rainy and cold one, forcing Sue to stay close at hand to all the relatives. Did I detect a few scowls?  A few brave ones moved away from her chair. When I tried, she cried, “Where are you going, Jack?” I had to suffer the entire night and the rest of the weekend due to lingering odors in the carpet and upholstery.

Not only this, but I had to eliminate the smell from my clothes. Even packing them in a bag and shoving it in the back seat made the car give the impression of an ashtray. I should have put my backpack in the trunk. I had forgotten the power of cigarette odors. They just don’t go away on their own. You have to wash your hair and spray the heck out of your clothes until you can wash or dry clean them based on what I read here: I wonder what spouses of inveterate smokers do. They have to live with it and suffer stale smells. I bet Aunt Sue’s husband, Uncle Sam, has a case of Febreeze in the garage.

You can light a match for a quick fix or spray an area with a scented essential oil like lemon or eucalyptus. This works well in cars and closed spaces and many prefer it to the generic smell of the popular air deodorizer. I sent my mother various tips and tricks I found online so she could take action next time Aunt Sue comes over. A fragrant candle could be an alternative gift. She didn’t complain with others around, but I know what she was thinking.