I’m usually a “live-and-let-live” type of person. I really don’t care what folks do so long as they’re not harming anyone (animals or the environment). I moved to this neighborhood in March after I had to move at the start of this pandemic (my landlord put the house on the market). I was very fortunate to find the lovely cottage where I now live. And there is someone regularly using a smoker.
It’s easy imagine that this person might not realize what is happening because their focus is on the meat that comes out of the smoker — not the smoke (and how it might affect others. Hey, I could deal with it, say, once a week — I’d just go somewhere else). But, this person is doing it two to six times a week. Again, folks should be able to do what they want, but the trouble is that the smoke and off-gases end up in my house so that I end up with near-immediate headaches, sinus swelling and wheezing. In general, I’m pretty protective of my health after brain surgery two years ago and, now, doubly so with this COVID-19 (respiratory) thing.
To date, in trying to deal with the things that I do have control over, I’ve spent over $1,000 (medical-grade hepa house air filter and a greenhouse exhaust fan) to try to clear my home when this happens. Now is the time for the other person to do their part, because as I said earlier, feel free to do your own thing ‘til it affects others. Yours doesn’t trump my right to enjoy my home, my sanctuary, without the intrusion of your smoke/off-gases.
If this is a business, maybe it’s time to move production out of a residential neighborhood. If I painted cars on my property and the paint fumes made their way into your house with the same frequency, you’d be looking for me to move my production elsewhere, too. It’s not an unreasonable request, or, maybe just throttle back your production.
I can already hear the push back, “I have rights,” “It’s my home and I can do whatever I want to do,” “Suck it up,” “Don’t be a ‘Karen,’” etc. Here’s the thing. I have zero control how my body reacts to smoke, otherwise I wouldn’t bother to bring it up because I know the difference between a “need” and a “preference.” There is the “give-and-take” and mutual respect of a healthy community, so before getting all worked up, I ask you to imagine I’m your auntie or a kupuna of yours asking you to mind your smoke — for the same reasons. Yeah, it’s like that.
Please, mind your smoke.
Kenji Griffen is a resident of Kapa‘a.