Turning Shit into Gold since 2006
Despising cigarettes with intense vehemence is a hobby for me. There is nothing more satisfying than harshly cutting a friend down with vicious insults and taunting them when they oh so casually light that tightly packed stick of smokey death. With that said, it may come as a shock that the demise of the employee smoking lounge at work has not only evoked sadness in my heart, but also caused me to long for a time since passed.
One level deep into the parking garage, buried behind the maintenance bench and beyond the bike cage there used to be an ill ventilated, weather exposed concrete space where nicotine addicted youth and old alike gathered to puff smoke and pass along tales from their weathered lives. The three artsy tiled picnic tables were eventually picked to shards and re-doodled with moronic images and chillingly idiotic statements. It was a breeding ground for graffiti, the location for consuming copious amounts of off the clock alcohol, and meeting place of a mismatched menagerie of personalities.Resembling an urban saloon of sorts, the smoker’s lounge harbored miscreants and slackers who took solace in the rigid surroundings of their on-the-clock escape. Stories were swapped between the top branches of upper management to the lowly roots of the prepared food staff with the casualness of acquaintances. People who usually never made eye contact with one another in the workplace were suddenly inclined to offer pleasantries where they normally stayed silent.
Sadly sometimes the smoker’s lounge would become a battlefield for disgruntled co-workers who had a score to settle. The mysterious slutty slurs sprayed over a fellow employee’s mural in the lounge captivated the community for a short time. That is until the perpetrator was fired for the inappropriate public display of revenge. Despite some of the seedier aspects of the smoker’s lounge it could always be counted on as a great source of humor.
The morning shift filled the smoker’s paradise with the corporate types, slowly killing their mundane existence with American Spirits. Their always-full packs made them easy targets for the drifters who showed up later in the day. As the sun began to go down so did the caliber of cigarette fiends who wondered in looking for a bum. More commonly referred to as the Camel crowd, these meandering folk would soon litter the seating area with cheap beer cans as the late night closing crews steadily got off from work. The overnight gang sleepily trickled in soon after, replacing Lone Star with Monster.
When the great anti-smoking act of 2012 was put into place, and strictly upheld by authorities, the smoking lounge was unceremoniously shut down and sealed off from the wheezy inhabitants, leaving behind a hole the size of a black spot on a cancerous lung in the hearts of those who saw the beauty in a concrete cave full of smoke and workplace drama.