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August 3, 2008

August 3, 2008 – The Man Who Didn’t Like Cigarettes

            A few weeks ago myself and a fellow driver were having a chat.  I was sitting in my taxi, in the drivers seat, and one of the other drivers who well call “William” was sitting in the back.  Smoking a cigarette.  William does what most people do when they are finished with their cigarette – throw it on the ground.  Obviously this isn’t the best place to discard spent cigarette butts, but that’s where most of them just end up.  Point is it’s common.

            As William threw his butt out the window a concerned citizen spotted it and came over to intervene.  We’ll call this man “Lawrence.”

            Lawrence: You dropped something.
            William: Yeah
            Lawrence: Yeah, it’s not a garbage can you know (the sidewalk).
            William: I know.
            Lawrence: So are you going to pick it up?
            William: Yeah.
            Lawrence: Are you going to pick that up?
            William: Yeah, I will.

            So Lawrence walks about 100 feet down the block and waits.  Watching to see if William will leave the taxi to pick up his cigarette butt.  Me and William get a good laugh out of this whole thing.  I have never seen someone become so concerned about another person throwing a spent cigarette on the sidewalk.  I probably see it ten times a day.  Surely Lawrence sees the same.  Surely it just makes his blood boil.  After about 3 minutes Lawrence realizes that William has no intentions of picking up the cigarette butt and returns to the scene.

            Lawrence: Here you go (as he picks up that cigarette butt, which still is smoldering on the pavement, and throws it right in the taxi at William).
            William: (Sitting there in awe).  What the fuck?
            Me: What an asshole.
            William: I don’t know what to say.  I’m shocked.
            Me: Unreal.  That guy could have lit the taxi on fire.  Probably not, but it could have happened.  Does this guy always get this worked up about people throwing cigarettes on the ground?  It must be pretty hard for this guy to get through his day.

            A few weeks later I pick up a couple a few blocks from where this happened.  As I tried to leave the alley some A-hole in the alley zooms up in her BMW and blocks me from getting out and honks his horn.  He wants to go first.  So I say whatever and let him pass. We’ll call my passengers “Marty” and “Stephanie.”

            Me: What an asshole.
            Stephanie: Tell me about it.  I can’t stand that guy.
            Me: Why’s that?
            Stephanie: (Laughing) Tell him Marty.           
            Marty: He doesn’t want to hear about that?
            Me: No I do, what’s the deal with that guy?
            Stephanie: He’s our neighbor.  One day I threw a cigarette out in the alley behind my house and a few later he came to our front door to return it.  It was still lit.
            Me: (Laughing) I know that asshole!  (I then proceeded to tell Marty and Stephanie about my experience that I had a few weeks earlier at the Irish pub up the street.

            We all got a good laugh out of this.  Small world.  One of these days this guy is going return a cigarette to someone who really doesn’t want it back.  One of these days Lawrence is going to get socked in the face.

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