An Open Letter To The Woman Smoking Beneath My Window

Clearing the air.

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Photo by MontyLov

Dear 3rd Floor Resident,

We haven’t met, but I live above you. More specifically, our apartments are identical in layout. I, of course, have higher ceilings, but I digress. Each morning, I wake and walk to my kitchen table purchased at a bargain from Target to sit at my laptop and begin the business of my day. I always open the window.

Even in winter months, I love the crispness of morning air. The fresh newness that comes with the sunrise that leaves by midmorning and gives way to the rigors of the day. Mornings are my favorite. I never miss one.

Due to our aforementioned identical layouts, your kitchen table most likely sits where mine does, right next to your kitchen window. And where I use my window to let in fresh, glorious clean air, you use yours to have a morning smoke.

Each day at 7:30am, with the regularity of a train schedule, waft after waft of toxic fumes from your, honestly quite retro at this point, habit invade my clean airspace with foulness. It is a cycle I can do nothing to course correct, and I can quiet my rage no longer.

Initially I took to slamming my window aggressively after the first whif of your airborne poison, but that did nothing to quell your habits or at least get you to do them from another window. I know exactly how many windows you have, there are options.

How do you do this first thing in the morning? A fresh, bright new day and the first thing you think is, hey–I’d like to cloud myself in gray chemical laden air and make my mouth taste like dust in an antique shop. That sounds like fun.

I’ve decided to compose my thoughts rationally and clearly and communicate to you the only logical solution I see moving forward. Plainly, this shit has got to stop.

It must be hard for the remaining smokers of the world. What with literally endless evidence that you’re ruining your health, fewer smoker-friendly locations to do your wretched business, and just an overall stigma from humanity that you’re gross. Times are tough for you, and I bet that really makes you want a cigarette. But there’s a reason they’re tough, and there’s a reason so much of the population is against you: we’re actually right.

There’s the additional notion of neighborly courtesy that’s missing from your actions. Your total disregard for the fact that our airshaft, though it be large, is also shared, is something I find perplexing and upsetting given my constant looking out for your comfort. I do not wear shoes in my home. Have I not been kind?!

I am allowed to be angry at your odious behavior. I am allowed to hate your habit and wish you’d stop. If not for your appreciation of a beautiful morning, than heaven’s sake for mine. With great sincerity I ask you to reconsider your abominable morning routine, or at least re-route it to another part of your apartment. I like my mornings full of fresh air and free will not to corrupt my lungs, and your blatant disregard for medical journals is infringing on my day.

In sum, kindly stop smoking beneath my open window, or you shall find me rapidly enamored with high heels.

Sincerely,

4th Floor Resident

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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