Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Social or Solitary Smoking?

More often than not when I light up a pipe, it's among friends - usually other pipe or cigar smokers at the Tobacco Hut on Saturdays. There is a social quality inherent in smoking that draws people together. Maybe it's nothing more than people who share a common interest spending time together at one of the few places left outside of the home that allows smoking. That's a topic for another post though.

Smoking is also a solitary activity for me. Occasionally I'll head to the back porch or patio on a pleasant evening, pack my pipe with a stout English tobacco like Dunhill Nightcap, and puff away. Gazing up at the stars while smoking a pipe is a great combination that provides ample opportunity for reflection and relaxation.

Years ago I actually smoked at my desk at work. There were about a dozen cigarette smokers in the office, and another gentleman and I smoked pipes. I don't recall any cigar smokers, and at the time I was smoking mostly aromatic tobaccos. I don't think I had discovered English tobaccos at the time, but like to think that even if I had, I would have been sensitive to others around me and stuck with the aromatic.

At that time, I was working part time at a Tinder Box, and my tobacco of choice was a honey-flavored blend that I always received compliments on. As my wife will now attest, not too many compliments come my way when I smoke the English tobaccos. But, at least to my palate, they taste better than a typical aromatic.

Nowadays, pipe smoking is practically an anachronistic novelty and if I'm smoking in public, I invariably get comments about what I'm doing, usually positive. I guess I remind people of their grandfather or favorite uncle, which isn't a bad thing. The problem, of course, is that public smoking venues are few and far between.

Because of the anti-smoking movement, I'll probably be forced into solitary smoking if I want to enjoy my pipe. Or maybe the speakeasy will spring up as smoking is forced underground. Sigh...

- Bob

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