I wanted to photograph Cardboard Bogart before he meets his untimely demise at the hand of neighborhood smokers. He showed up over the weekend, leaning against the mailboxes at the front of our condo complex. At first, I didn’t think it was possible to restrict smoking inside one’s home, but ten minutes on Google tells me that in California, as in many states, condominium homeowners associations (HOAs) can write their own smoking rules, including prohibiting smoking inside units as well as on patios and in common areas.
For the record, I don’t smoke. Can’t stand it: result of both parents dying from lung diseases. Further, the effects of second-hand smoke are well-documented, so in a very real sense it’s in my family’s benefit that smoking be prohibited from our entire complex.
Having said that, it bothers me more than a little that the HOA can regulate what goes on inside my unit. Something about this gives me the same feeling I got when, in my 20s, an apartment complex I moved into informed me that no more than seven thumbtacks could be inserted into the walls, and that even an eighth hole would result in the loss of our deposit money. There’s a patronizing undertone here, and I find myself tempted to stick something like this to Mr. Bogart’s lapel.
Still, the seriousness of second hand smoke does seem to be entering the public awareness despite an expensive and long-running disinformation campaign by the tobacco industry. As a result, it wouldn’t surprise me if smoking (as in the act of burning a tiny tobacco-filled cylinder between one’s lips) eventually gives way to some other delivery mechanism, like vaping or patches (or, wait for it: nicotine edibles) whose second-hand effects are negligible. Until then I’m curious how Bogart, photographed long before the esophageal cancer reduced him to 80 lbs, will fare amidst our Sharpie-wielding neighbors.
Thoughts, feelings, trolls needing to meet their quota? Come one, come all: @prescottindigo.