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Exercise the Right to Exercise Without Smoke

Columnist Gab Bonesso has something to fear worse than dogs during her exercise walks lately ...

Exercise walks are the foundation for my daily routine.

For me, a day without exercise is like a day without water. I need them to release my manic energy, to clear my mind and to improve my overall physical health. Not to be dramatic, but it was my team of doctors who put me on this regime. Essentially, walking is my medicine.

For the most part my exercise walks have been less stressful than they were last summer. So far I have had zero incidents with dogs or potential serial killers. 

They are not doing as much utility work in my neighborhood like they were last year so I don’t have to breath in as many fumes while I walk the 90 degree hills.

Well, I should rephrase that. I’m not breathing in construction fumes while I walk, but I am breathing in cigarette smoke.

I don’t know where she came from, but there is a woman who is ruining my daily walk. She has consistently been walking at the same time as me for the past three weeks now. I don’t mind sharing the public roads with a fellow walker, but this individual is not exercising. 

I don’t know what her deal is but she walks dressed in work attire. She is constantly chain-smoking cigarettes the entire time while simultaneously screaming on her cell phone. It doesn’t matter how loud I adjust the volume on my iPod, I can still hear her.

On two separate occasions she actually stopped her phone conversation to try to tag along on my walk. 

Generally I am a really friendly person who loves to make new friends. However, I cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke. Especially when I am covered in sweat and breathing extremely hard.

I’m also a people-pleaser so I can’t just ask the woman to leave me alone or put out her tobacco stick. It’s against my nature.

This inappropriately dressed smoker is causing me quite the pickle, my dear readers.

As of last week my new technique was to start talking on my iPhone extremely loud when I began to approach her on the road. She seems to leave me alone if she thinks I’m taking an important call.

So the minute that she’s in my eyesight I place the phone to my ear and start screaming things like, “Sell low. Buy big!” or “Lady Gaga can’t afford me”. 

I’m not sure what any of that means, but the woman leaves me alone.

Sadly the phone trick still doesn’t solve the problem of her chain smoking near me while I’m walking. I think I’m just going to have to start wearing one of those SARS masks.

Perhaps I should write a local commissioner about creating an exercise smoking ban? I mean they have them in bars and restaurants. Why not have them where people are exercising as well?

Oh right. That whole civil liberty thing, huh? Well, I guess she can exercise her freedom to smoke while I just plain old exercise. Seems fair. Doesn’t it? 

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