#48. Smoking In Front of the Library While Waiting For Mom

In May 2011, I took a road trip to eastern Iowa on a nice late spring day hoping sightings would be plentiful.  Most of the day proved to be uneventful but I would hit pay dirt as I drove through the small town of Anamosa, which is a town in which I have a personal association with a handful of cute smoker girls even though this was the first time I had ever been there.  I didn’t see any familiar faces while in town, but a very intriguing newcomer proved to be the highlight of my trip…

I was driving through Anamosa, a city of around 8,000, and saw a library just to the right of the street I was on.  Immediately drawing my attention was a cluster of young girls in the 11-12 age range loitering in front of the door.  I did a quick once-over of them and could tell they were almost certainly too young to be smokers.  It was at that point I turned my attention to a bench a few yards away where a 14ish light brunette was seated all by herself.  Just as I was driving, I noticed she had a cigarette in her hand.  Thank God for small towns where turning around in the next open parking lot is a cinch.  Within less than a minute, I found myself making a left hand turn into that library lot.  And sure enough….there sat this very clearly underage girl publicly smoking a cigarette in front of the library.  Interestingly, Iowa’s fascist smoking ban officially forbids smoking on all state-owned property, so this girl was technically breaking two laws at once, first by being an underage smoker and second by smoking in front of the library.  The parking situation was cooperative as well as the lot was nearly empty and I was able to score a stall that gave me a front-row seat.  The only problem was the stall was about 20 yards from the front of the library, so I never did get a really close look at her but from what I could see she was a very modest teen cutie….certainly not stand-out-in-the-crowd hot, but also not setting any kind of alarm bells as a potential smoker, dressed in a very conservative sweatshirt and jeans.  Yet here she was not only openly smoking, but doing so only a few feet away from a cluster of younger girls, setting an awesome example for them….

From my vantage point, she looked young…in the 14 or 15 range, but I talked myself into thinking she was probably 16 or 17 as this day and age there would be no way a girl in the 14-15 range would smoke out in the open like this.  Nonetheless, it was an amazing show, particularly as she pulled out a book and really solidified the studious girl image that she invoked from the get-go.  Here was the underage bookworm cutie….reading from her book while sitting on this bench on a sunny day…and every 30 seconds or so bringing the cigarette to her lips to take a precocious drag.  Judging by her cute and shallow drags, she’s probably only been a smoker a few months.  I was giddy as a schoolgirl myself, at first dismissing my prospects for identifying the butt but realizing my changes were improving as the cluster of girls near her all walked away, leaving her by herself in front of the library.  At one point, I saw her take a final drag and then stub out the cigarette against the bench she was sitting on and then dropping it, but continuing to sit there reading.  Now it was just a matter of how long she would sit there.  Was she gonna spend hours enjoying her book on a sunny day?  I got my answer in just a couple short minutes, and it shed all kinds of light on the sighting in the yummiest way…

A car pulled into the lot and the girl stood up with an immediate look of familiarity.  It was mom!  And if mom is picking this girl up, it probably means that my original instinct was right that she’s only 14 or 15 and still has the moxie to smoke publicly in front of the library.  I was hoping for another light-up in the car, ideally a mother-daughter simultaneous spark up, but it never happened nor did I ever get a really good look at either mom or daughter before they drove off, but I would have been doing backflips if I wasn’t sitting in my car at that moment, imagining how stinky the girl must have been sitting in mom’s car after just finishing a cigarette.  Needless to say, with nothing holding me back, I walked on up and  identified her cigarette butt.  It was a Camel Menthol.  The whole drive home I had a smirk on my face thinking of the teenage bookworm smoker girl.

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