In the late 80s and early 90s, I was a very regular visitor to the city pool in my Minnesota hometown. The pool is in kind of a shaky area of town which contributed to the teenage wasteland that seemed to surround it, and as I waited outside for my mom to pick me up, I would frequently hear murmurs about “getting high” and all kinds of out-in-the-open discussion by kids just a little older than me about smoking. I would yield one amazing sighting from this venue in the summer of 1989, when I was nearly 12 years old and, once again, waiting outside for my mom to pick me up after the pool closed for the afternoon.
Sitting on a cement burm, I was quite shy and kept to myself amidst these “city kids” I didn’t know, but made myself just aware enough of my surroundings to recognize there were two boys and a girl who were about my age just behind me teasing each other. I turned around and got my glimpse of the girl, a 12 or 13ish light brunette with that classically cute late elementary girl face which I happened to see at the very moment she was placing a mostly smoked cork filter into her lips and taking a drag. I had definite early stages of the smoking fetish at this point in my life, but I still remember looking away quickly, as if seeing something I shouldn’t have seen. Nonetheless, my instinct led me to look a second time, just in time to see her take the final drag off the cigarette before casually flinging the still smoldering butt into the shrubbery.
I had a little problem as my little boy swim trunks were starting to bulge just a bit. The girl was being mercilessly teased, good-naturedly I think, by the two boys in her company, but I honestly don’t recall what they were discussing as I was too enamored by what I had just seen. It was the very first time I had ever seen a young girl my age smoking a cigarette. I had fantasized about this moment for years, and it finally happened for the first time. Fittingly, the girl then got onto her bicycle and started wheeling away amidst the continued heckles of her male tormentors. What an epic contrast to see this little cutie riding off on her bike after just finishing her after-swim cigarette. I never thought I’d be so grateful for having to wait a few extra minutes for my mom to pick me up at the pool.