It’s a story any smoker can relate to here in the city. There you are walking along the street minding your own business when all of a sudden someone approaches you and asks the dreaded question. “Hey, man. You got a cigarette I can bum off ya?” My usual answer was yes (prior to the exorbitant price increase) because I’ve been there before and know what it’s like to be jonesing for a hit of nicotine. My attitude has since changed upon moving here full-time as I can no longer afford the handouts which ultimately leave me feeling empty inside along with my pack of cigarettes.
Someone even had the nerve to stop me as I was moving into my apartment building because he saw the blue box of American Spirits sticking out of my shirt pocket. “Umm, excuse me but I’m kind of in the middle of carrying a bed up three flights of stairs,” was all that popped into my head. He muffled some inaudible bullshit then shuffled off. It’s come to a point where “bumming” a cigarette off me tunes you out almost instantaneously and there’s little you could do to warm back up to me socially.
Of course, the most antagonizing one liner to ask for a smoke is when an individual asks you: “You got an extra cigarette?” I’m sorry? Come again? No, sir. I’m a chimney so you can rest assured that every cigarette in this little blue box will be smoked before night’s end. The best display of wit came about one evening when I was strolling about in the West Village. A man not older than 35 years old snuck up on me and offered me a dollar in exchange for one. That sounded fair up until I whipped out the nicotine stick and waited for my dollar. “Oh, yeah, I kinda need the dollar. Can I have one anyway?” I couldn’t help but laugh in his face and snap back, “Absolutely not. I kinda need the cigarette. Have a great night.”
Sorry, NYC, but I no longer have the patience or income to support your addicted selves. Gone are my days of freebies. If you can afford to live in New York, you can afford a pack of smokes or at least a loosey. But, that doesn’t mean you still can’t try to woo me.