Tag Archives: Empathy

Smoking Walkers

Lately I have been wanting to confront rude people whom I encounter while walking not the sidewalk or riding the subway. I struggle to understand why so many people are rude, self-absorbed and offensive to the people around them.

Let’s look at public smokers. I’m not so concerned with smokers who stand or sit i one spot when they smoke. But the mobile smokers, they are the worst. There are some smokers who will walk blocks with a lit cigarette in hand,  puffing occasionally, leaving a toxic wake behind them. If I’m downwind of them, sometimes I can smell them a block away.

Either they are oblivious or they are aware that their secondhand smoke is being breathed by the people around them. If they are oblivious, maybe they just need to be alerted to what their actions are doing. If they are aware, then they make a conscious choose to harm others.

I am flummoxed in the wake of their disregard. It baffles me that they  harm other people with impunity. They may argue that it’s just a bit of smoke in public. Here in NYC, it is common knowledge that first and secondhand smoke causes cancer. Public service announcements have been common ever since smoking was banned from bars and restaurants during the Bloomberg administration.

Maybe the sidewalk smokers are just so addicted to smoking that whatever empathy they have for their fellow humans  is temporarily paralyzed. I wonder what I could do to bring them out of their haze. But trying to teach empathy to some people is near impossible but it could be fun trying. More on possible methods another time. I just wanted to complain about it first.