With groceries securely packed in the back of my car, ice cream slowly melting, I headed home. As I got off the highway I noticed the pack of bikers driving behind me, which wasn’t hard with how loud their bikes were. There were 5 of them in all. I found it ironic that they were driving so close behind me, so close that if I opened my hatchback I could probably reach out and touch them. I’ve always heard people say that you shouldn’t follow too closely when there are motorcycles in front of you. Apparently the same rule doesn’t apply to them.
I lit up a cigarette. Bad, I know. But that’s just the way it is. A minute later I was pulling up to a stop light, about 6 cars back, waiting to make my right hand turn and get home. The rumbling caught my attention again and I looked in the mirror to see the bikers coming to a stop behind me. Well, most of them. For some strange reason one of them was actually pulling up beside me. The first thought through my head was, “Is he really going to be so impatient that he’s going to squeeze between me and the car next to me just so he doesn’t have to wait at the light?”. That thought quickly left my brain when he got next to my driver’s side door and stopped. Then he turned and looked at me. Awkward!
“Does the ashtray work in that thing?”, he asked.
Not the question I was expecting. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting because the whole thing was a little strange. What does that question even mean? What’s the difference between a working ashtray and one that doesn’t work? How exactly does an ashtray stop working?
“Ummmm, actually my car doesn’t have an ashtray”.
Definitely not the response he was expecting. He looked like he wasn’t any more sure where this was going than I was at this point. He looked down at his bike for a brief moment, and then lifted his head and looked back at me.
“Well, you’ve been flicking your cigarette on me! I don’t like you using my face as your ashtray!”, he said in an eerily level tone.
It was polite……sort of. I mean, the way he said it was polite, I guess. But there was just something about it that was odd, and not very polite. I felt bad for a moment and since I had no idea what to say at this moment I said what any Canadian would say, “Sorry”. Then I looked down at my cigarette, which I had just lit a minute before, and realized that I’d only flicked the ashes once. Did he just…….really?
As I sat there thinking about it I decided to not say anything impolite, since I’m a fairly polite person and he was fairly polite about it. Well, that and they were a bunch of bikers. He started to roll his motorcycle back towards his buddies and once he was near them he began telling them the tale of how he told me to stop using his face as an ashtray. Regaling them with the surprising news that my car was actually made without an ashtray. Shocking, I know.
As he started telling them the tale I was still thinking. Thinking about how he was a biker. A tough, leather wearing, hog riding biker. “Don’t real bikers drive down the open road with hand rolled cigarettes hanging out of their mouths, while they’re doing 100km/hour down the freeway?”, I said to myself. “Aren’t real bikers tough guys?”, “Did you really just complain to a guy and his girlfriend in a fuel-efficient hatchback about having ashes flicked on you once?”. You, with your ripped jeans and leathers, your scruffy beard, and open-faced helmet. I was at a loss. “Maybe you shouldn’t be riding so close behind me”, I thought. “Should I ask the bugs to get off the road while you’re using it so they don’t get in your face either?” It’s not like I flicked my cigarette butt at him, right?
I don’t know, maybe I’m in the wrong for flicking my ashes out my window. I realize it’s not the best thing to do. Then again maybe car manufacturers are in the wrong for not putting ashtrays in cars anymore. It wasn’t even an option in my car. Much like the cigarette lighter in my car. You know, the spot I have for a lighter that doesn’t actually contain a lighter. Now it’s just an outlet to plug stuff into. That way you can plug your laptop into your car if the battery is dying while you’re driving.
I’m not sure when it started but, smokers are most definitely second class citizens. Which is odd because the last time I checked the government didn’t make smoking illegal. Is it bad to smoke? Of course it is, I’m not a complete idiot. There are lots of things that are bad for you though. I will smoke in my car with the windows down for as long as I smoke, or until they pass the law which says I can’t, whichever happens first. Luckily I’m still allowed to smoke outdoors……as long as I’m not near an entrance to a building, or in a public park, or near kids, or on a patio, or a million other places…..