I noticed I get a way better night of sleep when I have access to fresh air. So I have been keeping my windows open for the night – as soon as I don’t, I wake up groggy. Apparently the CO2 levels in the air – that is when your air gets stuffy – isn’t so great. Not terrible, not great. But having access to fresh air throughout all the night does wonders for the sleep quality!
It’s sometime between 1 or 2AM, I’ve not quite fallen asleep yet, but maybe was about to, when a bundle of thorns starts scratching my throat from the inside. I start coughing for a bit. My nose starts stinging from the inside – I take a whiff and the whole room smells like a heavy smoking old man has just dumped his whole ashtray on the floor of my room.
My neighbour is smoking. Oh, and it’s not just a normal smoke – it smells like the fucking cheapest you can get, and there’s a hint of marijuana inside it.
I get up to close my window (and can’t help but do it with a passive-aggressive loudness, which is probably not great for the health of the window, either), and maybe I fall asleep and wake up in a stuffed room in the morning, with my eyes stinging; or maybe I don’t, I open the window again later, only to feel another round of smoke come in – or if not, than get one around 7AM, which is a little earlier than I prefer to wake up when I go to work these days.
I’ve looked up if there’s anything I could legally do to bring this to an end. While there is no law prohibiting smoking on a balcony, there is something that is on my side – and that is the fact that my freedoms to use my living space are being limited by a third party – to do that is illegal. So, should it get to that, I know I’m not on the wrong side.
When I looked around the web, trying to figure out what have others done in such a situation, I found in some older forums – local as well as people in other parts of the world – the smoking forum users became very aggressive. Their suggestion was to move the fuck out and find a home or apartment building which is smoke free. They want to retain their rights to use their balcony for smoking.
And I get that. I understand people have their rights, if they want to screw with their health or enjoy a smoke, they can do that and I have no desire to stand against it.
But when that same poisonous crap is also imposed on me – forcing me to smoke (because even when I close the fucking window, that shit smell still comes through – as do the toxins that do not have any smell).
Used a bit of humour back in twitter to devise some mean plans how to bully and annoy the neighbours – and it was good fun, and while in real life it is tempting to throw a bucket of water on their laundry or cosy smoking spot, or start a smell-show of my own – and while I certainly do have the capacity to start doing shit like this, there’s a bit in me which reminds me that’s not how I do things. Hey – it’s an option, but I better explore the other ones first. I want to focus my energy on things that actually interest me.
So, what I have done so far to try to address the problem (besides the passive-aggressive pounding of my windows) – I left a hand-written letter to the lobby, softly reminding that the smoke comes in from other windows, deteriorates the value of the surrounding apartments and poses a health risk. A few days later that note was taken down – and whether the intended audience really saw it or not, is unclear to me.
Because the smoking has not stopped. I look down and see there’s a cosy sitting place with an ashtray.
Now, people have suggested me to go down there, knock on the door and talk to them (I am unsure whether there are one or two people (sometimes there are social parties)); but that’s not really helpful. What do I say, “your smoke comes in from my window, please stop smoking.”
I’ve seen the responses of smokers in the forums to predict the response to that. “Close your windows. Use an air purifier. Move out. Fuck you.”
Not that I mind getting no for an answer or making a fool out myself – I just don’t see that this confrontation in this form has ANY chance of working out for me the way people imagine it would.
Maybe if I had more testosterone in me, I’d go not for the results, but out of being pissed the fuck off and imagining I can teach them a fucking lesson. It is what people do – they go behind a door, pound on it and scream on the neighbour because they are pissed off – not to peacefully inform that hey, please stop poisoning me.
Using the power of my imagination, I try to see what it would be like if I was down there, a cigarette addict, enjoying his or her (maybe) first place of their own, with freedoms and privacy and all, and now some neighbor comes to my door and demands to speak with me.
Well, I’m not a cigarette addict and I try my best to be mindful when I use my living space – I use it in ways that won’t disturb others (I even get worried when I have guests and they don’t mind the level of their own volume – some people really don’t seem to regulate that! ._.); I can’t really imagine what is going on inside the head of a smoker who keeps smoking despite soft complaints from a slightly irritated neighbour, in written form.
For me that one note would have been enough – so I don’t know what I’m dealing with. I feel uncertain and unsafe handling it on my own. Maybe it’s a challenge the Universe set me up for – so I learn and figure out how to handle such situations on my own – but on the other hand – I don’t think we humans are mean to tackle all prblems on our own. Maybe the lessons here is about cooperation, collaboration – who knows;
Anyway, I’ll meet my apartment’s owner some time this week, I’ll take it up with her and see what she has to say. I do actually have the option to move to another random studio apartment (even though it’s not the greatest season for it – the university goers have all picked up the spots already); But here again – it’s not a rational thing – I’ve been living in this place for 6 years, it’s home, there’s the park and the beach – besides, moving is inconvenient af. The plan was to stick here until I leave Reval and go link up with my husband back in Perona (he’s there, which could be why this confrontation isn’t already done with – things could be quite different).