The death of Peter Jennings (from lung cancer) last week has lots of folks thinking about smoking. I remember when smoking was allowed on airplanes and ash trays were common desk accessories in the office. Ash tray. A tray for your ashes. Do they still manufacture ash trays? I’m sure they do.
My favorite “ash tray” is The Smoker’s Oasis. The grand daddy of ash trays, The Smoker’s Oasis has sprung up like big, stinking mushrooms outside offices and buildings across America. When we drove our smoking employees outdoors, we had to come up with someplace for them to put their butts.
We had one outside our offices for a while. It was originally located 30 or 40 yards from the back door of our building. The next time I saw it, it was right next to the building, so smokers could get a little shelter from the rain.
I went searching for it to take a picture for this post but it’s gone. When I asked one of my smoker co-workers where it was located, she would only mutter, “It’s gone. I don’t know where it is.”
My current theory is our Smoker’s Oasis has become like Dracula’s coffin. Only smokers know where to find it and you can never spot them going to or from the secret location.
Do our closeted smokers take turns emptying our Smoker’s Oasis? Is there a secret duty roster somewhere, showing who has butt chores this week? And where do they dump the butts? Do they bury them in the woods behind our office, taking care to spread leaves over the shallow grave?
Do they dream of a day when they are once again in the majority and can come in from the cold? Will we have nice, cut glass ash trays on every desk, with the company logo proudly imprinted on the side? Will we see a day when there is no longer a need for the Smoker’s Oasis? We can only hope.