We all have vices, right? And by vices, I mean things we indulge in for pleasure, not out of necessity, things that we indulge in though they may not be healthy for us.
I know some formal definitions include words like "evil" and "moral depravity," but if those fit you, you need to seek counseling, not read this blog.
So I was just out of the office at an interview. When I arrived at the location I stood on the sidewalk waiting to be buzzed in. A few other folks milled about, all apparent strangers to one another.
One guy was smoking. A woman pushing a stroller approached him and asked to "borrow" a cigarette...if he had one to spare.
He smiled, checked his pack, gave her a cig, and lit her up.
This isn't a new phenomenon, I know. But I'm curious about two things: If you're a smoker, has it always been a part of smoker's etiquette to comfortably and casually ask other smokers to "loan" you a cigarette? And why is it that people don't ask strangers to borrow other vices?
I mean, I have the occasional Cuban cigar. My humidor is practically bulging at the seams, in fact, 'cause I don't smoke 'em often enough. I consider it a vice, in the purest sense, 'cause without going into the medical minutia, our lungs weren't meant to suck in cigarette smoke, nor were our mouths meant to savor cigar smoke.
Anyway, if I was in a social setting where cigars were allowed and I realized I'd left home without one, I don't think it would ever occur to me to walk up to a cigar-smoking stranger and ask him to "loan" me a spare.
What about people who eat frequently at Crack Ronalds, or Wack Arnolds? That stuff is definitely a vice, since it bears ingredients that can clog your arteries, stop your heart, or put bad weight on you.
And yet, if you were in a public setting, hungry, and craving that particular vice - say, a Big Crack with cheese and fries, or a six piece CrackNuggets meal - and you saw a perfect stranger eating those things, it would never occur to you to ask that stranger to borrow a fry or a nugget.
I could go on with the vices, but you get my point. What makes cigarettes so different from other ingestible or inhalable vices, that cig smokers are so comfortable asking strangers for 'em?