Life as a smoking lounge

So my recent journey required me to travel though an airport. An airport, among many other things, means to me: smoking ‘lounges’. I smoke; therefore I require a smoking ‘lounge’.

As I enter a departure lounge my next immediate step would be, to find the smoking room. To explain this concept to those of you who don’t smoke; it’s the same principle I suppose of needing the toilet. And finding the first available one. It really is just, admittedly, mostly habit. But to me, also, a comfort of sorts. I mostly travel alone and my cigarette has invariably become somewhat of a companion to me. I have actually even looked down at it before and said, ‘ah, cigarette, thank you, my old friend.’ And that’s a true story. This isn’t supposed to be a pro-smoking talk though so I’ll stop with the romanticism now. Please don’t take it as such, I also don’t agree with smoking and do realize smoking is very bad for me, or anyone for that matter, and would never encourage anyone to take up the habit… before anyone says/thinks anything to those effects.

What I actually did start off wanting to talk about was the actually smoking ‘lounges’. They are very strange places. They are never the most comfortable nor sophisticated rooms, for I suppose, obvious reasons. But I do love observing what goes on in them. You find yourself sat in a room, sometimes in the form of a coffee bar, sometimes a lounge, sometimes a fish bowl with back to back rows of chairs and strategically placed ashtrays in between each row. It’s hilarious. Anyway, at any one time you’d find a group of people sitting in this designated area, all smoking. Nothing else in the world binding them more at that very moment besides this primal need we’ve all got ourselves locked into and seemingly dependant on. Mostly, you don’t talk to anyone. You just sit staring straight ahead, or you read. Or click away on a laptop, usually playing solitaire. But sometimes, you end up talking to the person sitting next to you:

Perhaps they’ve asked you to borrow your lighter, or perhaps they’re on the same connecting flight as you and you wonder if they’re ultimately destined for the same place you are. Perhaps they just seem like an interesting person and you figure you’ve got nothing else to lose at this point since you’re sitting in a smoky, badly ventilated room under fluorescent lighting with a luke warm mug of coffee and a dodgy, bordering on erotic, paperback novel. Whatever the reason may be, you end up talking to them. Well, rather, I end up talking to them. And it’s always been beneficial. To me anyway. I wile away the next hour, two, or five minutes, talking to someone, a stranger, I never would normally have spoken to had we not ended up side by side in this smoky room together. I have had some good chats in the smoking lounges of airports. Some very memorable ones too.   And in those moments I do, once again, thank my old friend. For introducing me to other people on their own journeys, different ones, but ultimately, so very the same; mostly, because the first thing we all do is look for the smoking room when we enter the departure lounge.

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