Gotta Light?

Sometimes it pays to pay attention, other times you wish otherwise, like this morning.

I was coming back from the Park when I spot two little kids no more than 3 standing near a parked car. First of all, they were the cutest mini couple you ever did see not to mention flagrantly fashionable.  

The boy had on khakis, a button down with the collar flipped up and a brown bomber jacket zipped half way. His hair was on the long side with wild wisps catching the wind. The young lady, who I figured was his sister, had on black tights and a turtleneck with a bright red poncho that hit her at the knee. They were an ad if I ever saw one. She had a braid that was more than a little optimistic since it was the length of your pinkie but somehow it worked on her.

As I approached them I slowed my step purposely so I could stare at them a bit longer they were that precious. I then noticed they had what looked like candy cigarettes and were pretending to smoke. I couldn’t believe it. Part of me thought it was very funny, the other, pretty tragic.

They must have learned this from their parents since they mimicked so well. I look up and see a young woman slam down the trunk of her Mercedes Wagon who started speaking to the kids in fast French.

Ah-ha, I thought, that explains it since the French all seem to smoke. You see and hear them on the Avenue, mostly tourists, with children in tow puffing away as if lung disease only happens on this side of The Atlantic.

And no, I didn’t start lecturing her on the perils of tobacco but the image of little Lindbergh and Gigi feigning smoke rings may never leave me.

They were so wee and innocent as we all were at their tender age. They will no doubt be fashion stricken, beautifully bi-lingual and serial smokers when they grow up and I do hope I’m wrong concerning two of those things.

I did tell Madam what adorable children she had. “Oui, merci” she said, quickly snapping into staccato English. “They-are-a-handful,” accent on ful.

And I see Nicotine patches in their future. No I didn’t say that either, I was good and believe me when I say, it practically killed me.

After all, our parents are our first and most influential role models. This is why I wipe my shoes off before they go back into the closet and line my wastebaskets with newspaper. I saw my mother do it over and over and over again.

Of course she drank too much as well which had the opposite effect but you can’t always count on that happening.

I sometimes wonder what kind of a mother I would have been. I assume a terrible one since I can’t imagine having a responsibility that comes with an 18 year commitment. The closest I’ve come is adopting a cat but they don’t need changing and burping or help with their homework.

On the other hand I know one thing about myself, I’d be aware of what I was doing and smoking would be right up there with stealing and shooting smack.

I stayed deep in thought as I made my way home thinking of those two little French kids and children in general. What can one really say?

They’re at the mercy of our judgment till that job becomes theirs.

Perhaps we’re the handful, accent on hand.

Where was his mother I ask you?

SB

About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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19 Responses to Gotta Light?

  1. Rob says:

    I blame my bout of smoking on my crazy second wife (and that sounds really childish). Although both my parents smoked when I was the age of the French children you saw, I didn’t take up the evil weed until I was 39. Fortunately, I had enough sense to give it up by the time I was 42.
    Kids grow up, despite their parents best efforts.

    Like

  2. I think you are dead on when you said that they believe lung disease is on this side of the Atlantic. foreigners do smoke at an alarming rate…they see it completely different. Neither of my parents smoked, yet my sisters and I did. Free will I guess. As much as I LOVED it, I HATE it with a passion today.
    Those kids did sound adorable!

    Like

  3. backonmyown says:

    This is a poignant piece, Susannah. The things parents do to their children. I guess I’m old fashioned, but what happened to allowing children to be children? We can hope that the forced “smoking” will cause them to rebel against it and against the misguided mores their mother is espousing. We can hope.

    Just so you know: I read all of your posts. I enjoy reading about life in NY, so different from my life. I am often rushing about and don’t take time to comment. Keep writing!

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    • I’ve often heard that God speaks through people. I’ve been low about writing lately. It happens from time to time so thanks for saying those sweet things. I needed them.

      Yes, kids should be kids like you and Stella building a bird house.

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  4. rheath40 says:

    What a great post my dear. I used to smoke. Thought it was cool. Hell I WAS cool when I smoked. 🙂 But I’m even cooler now that I’ve been smoke free for 14 years. My dear you would have been a good mother. I see the nurture of you in your words. I feel them in what I read. You would have been a very good mother indeed.

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  5. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Both of my parents smoked like chimneys. You should have seen the air in our living room at night, it was blue. Looked like the smog in LA. Three out of the 5 of us took up smoking, I think only one still smokes (not sure about another one, we don’t have much contact).

    I love the way you write dialogue, I can always hear the conversations in my head 🙂 Tres bien!

    Like

  6. Jed says:

    Being a virulent smoke crab, it’s hard for me to be objective. But once again, a well thought out piece. Letterman occasionally shows a film of that specific Asian child blowing smoke rings.

    Like

  7. rachel bar says:

    As the daughter of a habitual smoker, I smoked for only one year, and so I can attest to the fact that we don’t necessarily follow our parents footsteps, even if you line up the trash bin with newspaper:)
    Actually, what I found most fun in the post (call me weird) was your description of their clothes. And finally, I’m so glad you didn’t say anything to the mother, as she might have thought that this kind of child play (imitation), may actually prevent them from smoking when they grow up.

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    • I’m trying to keep my 2 cents to myself unless it’s mandatory to speak up. They were cute but I hate smoking so much. My best friend died from second hand smoke and I take it personally. I don’t know what the mother thought, she was pretty young herself. Glad you didn’t smoke like your dad.

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  8. merryprangster says:

    Both my parents smoked, although my dad gave it up about 30 years before he died of lung cancer at 84. My mom was still smoking until the cancer spread to her brain and she went into a coma. Being around it made me see it as filthy and disgusting – all those ashes and butts. So I’ve never smoked.

    Another part of your piece that I could identify with is the part about not having children. I tell myself it was a conscious decision but on the other hand while I was sexually active I never got pregnant and having had the sex life of a nun the past twenty years…well, it was for the best. Sometimes I’m not sure I am being a good parent to my dog.

    You are a nurturing person, though – just look at how you stood up for that old lady and that young girl. You care about people and that’s a special thing that a lot of parents don’t have (unfortunately).

    Like

    • I know you’re a great mom to your dog. Try not to be so harsh with yourself. We have no idea what parenthood would have been like. I bet we would have gotten the hang of it pretty quickly. Just a hunch.

      Like

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