Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Smelling Cologne: Deep in the stink of it (a continuing series)

The first thing you notice as you descend the stairs (unless the escalator is working, which it often isn’t) is the smell of cigarette smoke, sometimes the stale, raunchy odor of walls and floors and rooms filled far too many times with the stuff so that now the simply, dirty stench has permeated the fiber of the place and will likely remain there unless or until the city fathers find the money to repaint the place, not likely to happen unless that particular lobby needs greasing. On other occasions the smell is recent, even active as it was this past Sunday when HH and I went for a ride on the public transportation in and around Cologne.

I have a bone to pick with the Cologne city fathers and with my fellow citizens: I don’t care one bean in hell if people want to smoke – it’s none of my business – I’ve smoked most of my adult life but that right to smoke ends where my nose begins (to snatch an old saw) and particularly so in the already dank, airless tubes and tunnels of the public transportation system where prominent “No Smoking” signs are posted everywhere. Maybe Sunday was a fluke, but in every station and on every platform on which we stood, waited or walked through, there were sleazeballs smoking. Old sleazeballs, young sleazeballs, all shapes and varieties of sleazeballs. Those suckers didn’t care – they needed to suck their stuff and damn the rest of us who were trapped in the subterranean tubes with them. I’m angry at these sleazeballs for being careless, selfish, well … sleazeballs, but I’m also angry at the authorities for failing to even make an attempt to enforce the laws against smoking in the transit system.

The quality of life in a city is measured in the small things as well as the grand and I am beginning to find some serious shortcomings here – smoking isn’t the only problem that needs to have some light shined on it!

More anon …

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Blogger Maria said...

My biggest annoyance is when they continue to smoke and blow smoke at my baby!

9:32 AM  
Blogger vailian said...

I will sometimes make a comment in a loud voice and some of the less defiant sleazebags will put the cigarettes out... Really, though, I think it is a matter of habit, and the smoking will disappear without them having to enforce the law. Germans are very good at reminding others to obey the laws (as I find out regularly when I run red lights on my bike)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Brother Tobacco is one drug I've never even been attracted to - what a relief! It's so addictive. Stale, second-hand smoke is awful. nasty stuff!

6:38 PM  
Blogger christina said...

Hmm, could we say that the rose-coloured glasses have started to slip down your nose a bit? I'll be interested to hear more. :-)

And yes, the lack of enforcement on many levels (smoking, doggie doo on the streets, littering etc)is just as appalling as the people who simply couldn't give a damn about their fellow man. Our quality of life here has been seriously affected by stuff like this.

9:13 AM  
Blogger d. chedwick bryant said...

sleazeballs stink.

6:54 PM  
Blogger d. chedwick bryant said...


this is for you--an audio clip

10:58 PM  
Blogger Rositta said...

Wow,I'm surprised that it's not enforced. I know that Germany allows smoking in most places (they did when I was there last), but I had hoped they would change their laws. Here in Toronto there is hardly anywhere at all where smoking is permitted, I mean nowhere, clubs, restaurants patios anywhere at all.

2:09 AM  
Blogger Lynda said...

Disgusting habit - and I find it repulsive now that we have had years and years of smoke-free environments here in Australia. I don't even know anybody that smokes anymore. I told my german friend (big German businessman) that it has become a social statement in Australia - only people on the lower end of the social-economic page, smoke. Thought it might help him to stop. On my last visit to Germany I went to a beautiful restaurant in Bonn. Just as our meal were being placed in front of us, the 3 tables around us ALL LIT UP!.. horrid. And extra awful when you are trapped in a small space with it. Germany should catch up with the rest of the world. It is much easier to give up if you are not constantly surrounded by people puffing away.

12:55 AM  
Blogger C said...

As they used to say on SNL, "Don't get me started ... don't even get me started." Smoke is not the smelliest thing in the Cologne subway (I'll spare you the nastiness of my experiences) - though none too desirable anyway. In Berlin, there were ordnungsamters levying fines to the smokers on platforms - let's hope they come west soon.

3:38 PM  

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