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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