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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Paris: City of Second-Hand Smoke

Well, this article is nothing other than one long complaint, so be forewarned.  Fall has arrived in Paris, but today the temperature is unseasonably warm.  It's 63 degrees right now.  Everyone in Paris is dreading the long, rainy, cloudy, dark winter.  The local papers are full of winter survival guide articles recommending plenty of sleep, exercise, good diet, and special lights to simulate the sun. So, on a day like today, though it's cloudy and sprinkling off and on, it's key to get out and soak up the "outdoors."

Unfortunately, sitting outside in Paris is a hazard to your lungs, as all the smokers are there.  They can't smoke inside, so they sit at the tables outside.  I've been sitting here for an hour and a half.  Though there are only two tables next to me (the others are on the other side of the sidewalk), there have been only a few minutes without anyone smoking.  As soon as one or two people leave, another one or two sit down.  Ack!

Even though I've been here for seven months now, I'm no more accustomed to all the second-hand smoke than when I arrived.  I must have been more accustomed to smoke when I was younger and went to the occasional smoke-filled bar.  Now, the smoke causes a sharp burning deep in the back of my throat that makes me want to cough.  But, I try to suppress it, first to avoid offending the smokers, and second, to avoid seeming like a wimp.

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