December 14th, 2005

Environmental Sensitivity

I was doing well this morning despite the fact that I'm fighting off a bug. But then I started coughing uncontrollably at work. Luckily, my colleague has an inhaler I could use. Even after numerous puffs and lots of black coffee, though, I was unable to get my lungs anywhere near normal function. The culprit? Someone on my hallway smokes inside, against university policy, despite having been told many times to stop. I have a hard time with cigarette smoke anyway. At this time of year, though, when the inversion layer is at its worst and I'm warding off my exhausted students' end-of-semester germs; when I'm spending lots of time in my office, where the circulation is poor at best; and when I'm struggling every night to avoid the particulate matter problem caused by the chimneys in our neighborhood, the cloud smoke that insinuates itself under my door and into my "breathers" is a huge health problem.

Right now I can tell that I won't sleep right tonight and may well get the bug I had been keeping at bay as a consequence of my currently weakened state. And I'm pissed. I like the smoker in question. I like many smokers. But rules are rules and rules created for the sake of community health are especially important. Although I'm generally the last one to lodge an official complaint, I did so today. Maybe someone in my Department will suggest, as they did the last time I made a fuss about this, that I change offices to be away from the smoker. Frankly, though, I like my office and am there a lot, so I think it is not me who should be punished with the hassle -- and it's a big hassle when you have as many books and papers as I do at work -- of uprooting in the middle of the year. The worst aspect of the situation is that the smoker has a good reason to smoke and is a gracious and friendly colleague. Still, there are times to draw a line in the sand. Given how sick I was last winter, I can't afford to sit back and take it. Anyway, I had other things I was going to blog about today, interesting things, but they will have to wait until there is more oxygen in my bloodstream.
  • Current Mood
    short of breath
  • Tags