Wednesday, September 26, 2007
SMOKING IN BALTIMORE
For the past month I've been traveling into and spending my days in Baltimore. Each morning my train passes by the Raven's stadium (where I silently boo) and then past Camden Yards. After getting off of the train, I walk through a construction site (future home of the Baltimore Hilton) and then to campus (which is a construction site, too - new student center coming in 2009).
My overall impression of Baltimore has not been that positive, but we'll give it another month or two. However, I would like to comment on the number of people who smoke in Baltimore. It seems like everyone in the city smokes - constuction workers, train conductors, train maintenance staff, staff at CVS, hospital staff - EVERYBODY (or so it seems). My second-hand smoke exposure has risen exponentially in the past month.
The worst place to walk by is the front of the university hospital. I avoid the block of Green Street between Lombard and Baltimore Streets at all costs. Everyone, from hospital staff to patients to visitors to taxi drivers, sits outside the hospital and smokes. It is disgusting.
On the north side of the hospital (along Baltimore Street) there is a bus station/stop area. This is also a hot spot for smokers. Last week I had to walk down Baltimore Street after a quick run to the CVS for more index cards to make flash cards. I walked through the bus station/stop area to get back to school. The sidewalk is pretty wide through this area, but somehow I got cornered into a wall by a large man smoking a cigarette. He was talking on his cell phone and walking all over the place. As he cornered me onto the edge of the sidewalk, he flicked his cigarette ashes onto my arm, which hurt. I said, "ouch" to which he replied, "Oh, baby, look out where you are going!"
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!
First of all, I'm not your baby and second of all you just burned me with your cigarette.
I was so dumbfounded by him burning me and then not apologizing that I didn't have a word to say to him. I have a few choice words now...probably best that I didn't have them then.
Anyways, I am learning where to walk and not walk to decrease my exposure to second-hand smoke in Baltimore. And come January, people in the state of Maryland will not be allowed to smoke in restaurants and bars. Wonder what that will do to the number of outside smokers in downtown Baltimore?