It’s been six years since the big Chicago smoking ban was put into effect, and more recently, even e-cigs, the indoor smoking alternative, have been bounced from in-house. Chicago has taken great strides to clean up the lungs of its inhabitants and recently I’ve noticed less and less smokers on the streets of downtown Chicago. The streets are remarkably cleaner and clearer, leaving the multitude of humans breathing only the sweet smog of congestion and traffic, and I wondered, did all of Chicago quit? I know a lot of smokers and it left me curious so I pondered to myself, ‘Self, where have all the smokers gone?’ And there is one answer. The alleys.
I took a short cut one afternoon and noticed there was nearly as much foot traffic betwixt the myriad of dumpsters and flattened rat carcasses as most streets at 3pm on a Tuesday…then I realized I was the only one without a cigarette! I was the freak in this downtown other world, and other world it has become! Not only is it one of the last places smokers in Chicago can puff the stuff, but it’s also rising as the ‘it’ place for smoking singles to meet other smoking hot singles. “Oh, yeah!” Virginia Hearth, a two pack a dayer gravelly piped up, “It’s been great in a way because we all know we’re smokers, so that awkward moment when you are dying for a drag and you pull out a cig hoping the look of disgust doesn’t wash over the face of the hottie you’ve been talking to simply vanishes!” “Yes!” chimed Clare Players, long time Benson and Hedges Ultra Menthol Light 100s smoker, “I almost exclusively date guys I’ve met in the alley. I am bummed, though, that they put up that no flicking law, I mean, how else are you going to catch someone’s attention?”
So, if you are still toking the tobacco and think there are no other puffers on the planet beside you, just turn down the next alley – you will not only find the other members of your tribe, you may just meet the next person that not only lights up when they see you, they won’t complain of your ashtray kisses!