I get a titillating masochistic sensation in my heart when I see the smokers now pushed outside of pubs by legislation pulling sad lonely drags from their cigarettes while they attempt to keep warm. As I make my way home, I keep an eye out for these huddled wretches so I can relish in their misery. Today I got a nice treat. One man stood in the doorway of a pub on his own. He was the twin of Buster Keaton. The po-faced expression. The lanky and floppy limbs. He was even smoking like the silent film comedian. He took long exaggerated drags that sucked his cheeks between his teeth. He then pulled his head back as if avoiding a slap; next he threw his head forward as to spit and blew out great blue-grey billows of smoke. He did this a number of times with his arms rigidly at his sides. He gave a jump of shock when he saw me staring and smiling as I continued down the other side of the street. He grabbed the cigarette between his two forefingers and looked sheepishly in another direction.
More than seeing smokers suffer, I love catching another human in that pure and unreflective state. That wonderful time when our self-consciousness is forgotten and we behave as our true selves. To me that is when a human is the most beautiful. It is usually only when we are alone and without any concerns or care. That it is why it is such a rarity for someone else to witness. I smiled and winked when he caught my gaze. Just a little thanks for having been able to see another as they really are. I hope he has someone to go home to and tell the story of getting caught acting goofy and I hope he tells the story with a laugh and a smile.