I had been out of college for more than a month on July 1, 2000, still looking for a job and living with the folks. My dad was making a Saturday trip up to Bemidji, Minnesota, in pursuit of old car parts, and being someone who welcomed the opportunity for a road trip to northern Minnesota and the opportunity to see scantily clad young girls smoking, I decided to ride shotgun. It ended up being a fun trip on a nice day, but completely lacking in the sightings department for hours and hours. Given that it was the 4th of July weekend, the highways were nearly bumper to bumper with cars headed up to the north woods, but I wasn’t seeing ANY smokers.
Finally, after hours and hours of acute observation, I was tired and leaned back for a few minutes of shut eye as we approached the St. Cloud area. I was just starting to nod off when I was awakened by my dad’s voice reading a town name off of a sign aloud. I shook awake as he said “Rice”, and the timing of my dad’s announcement saved me from missing out on the only consequential sighting of the day. I looked to my right to the next lane to see a hot 21ish blond in a red sports car with an unlit cigarette dangling from her lips. My dad did a great, albeit inadvertent, job of keeping pace with the girl as I watched longingly as she proceeded forward, with the unlit cigarette perched in her mouth for what seemed like an unusually long period of time. What on Earth was she waiting for, I thought to myself.
I would get my answer in a few seconds as blondie raised her car’s cigarette lighter and touched it to the tip of her cigarette, bringing it slowly to life. It was very rare even then, and almost nonexistent today, to get a car cigarette lighter sighting, and it’s too bad because there’s something very alluring about a girl who uses this means to fire up. Not sure why, but it’s as though she’s come to terms with the fact that she’s an addicted smoker and has incorporated this into her lifestyle. My dad kept relatively good pace with her for the next couple minutes and I was able to see a couple of drags from a distance before she got in the turn lane on the east side of St. Cloud. To this day, it’s my best random sighting of a girl using a car’s cigarette lighter.