Every year, I make a voyage in July to west-central Minnesota, and most years I stay overnight in the small town of Montevideo, Minnesota. I usually arrive there in the mid-to-late afternoon and pass the time seeking out smokers for a couple hours before dark. A frequent sightings hotspot is the parking lot of the neighborhood Wal-Mart, and back in July 2007, I found a spot fairly close to the front entry to park there and drink down a Dairy Queen Moolatte on a steamy Saturday evening.
Pulling up right next to me was a car full of college-age girls. Almost within arm’s length from me as I looked over my right shoulder was an attractive dirty blond driver with a cigarette in her fingers. She was the only smoker of the four in the car, which I found intriguing by itself. The one drag I saw was impressive and I was intrigued as she stepped out of the car, revealing her nice figure draped in a tanktop and jean shorts. She continued smoking as her group walked towards the entrance. At the very last second before stepping inside the girl dropped her cigarette to the pavement and cut loose her final exhale as she went in. I just got the vibe while watching this that the girl was probably a very heavy smoker.
Now there’s no way to fully confirm this suspicion, but she sure fed that narrative when no more than five minutes later, the same group exited the Wal-Mart, and I saw an unlit cigarette dangling from the lips of the group’s solo smoker, but it remained unlit only a couple seconds as the girl sparked up her next cigarette only a couple footsteps removed from the inside of the store. Was I just catching this girl in a moment of an extreme craving, or is her addiction and requirement for a constant stream of nicotine always as severe as they were during these two observations? Whatever the case, I once again had a great front-row seat as she got behind the wheel again, cigarette in her left hand, and proceeded to leave the lot in her car full of nonsmoking friends. Sure glad I didn’t choose to simply spend the evening in the motel room watching Big Brother that night!