Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Don’t Drink Tobacco Any More

Smoking here is part of the culture, just about everyone here smokes, I have even seen small children smoke in the streets on their way to school. Even if you don’t smoke, you often end up smoking someone else’s cigarette by inhaling their second hand smoke. There are no “no smoking” sections in this part of the world. You can smoke in restaurants, taxies, government offices, and just about anywhere. There are even restaurants that specialize in people who what to smoke red hot ambers through a tall water pipe and a plastic mouth piece, which in the west I am told, is called hubbly bubbly. There are a few names for it in Arabic but I just call it annoying and nasty.

Often while traveling in taxies I am asked if I would like a cigarette. I of course say no thank you, but I feel like telling them that they can save money by not offering me a cigarette because I am going to smoking half of theirs through second hand smoke anyway. I have recently learned that one way to say “I don’t smoke” in Arabic is to say “ma bashrabsh dukhkhaan”. This is literally translated as “I don’t drink tobacco”. Well I thank Jesus that by his grace I do not drink tobacco any more. Maybe this phrase comes from the hubbly bubbly water, but I do not think they drink the water, but I would not be surprised. I do not want to sound very negative because there are some things to be thankful. I am thankful that I live in a part of the world where alcohol consumption is rare so the temptation to use alcohol is not present because, I don smoke alcohol any more either.

Now I have to admit I am an ex-smoker and they say that ex-smokers are the worst when it comes to complaining about smokers. But maybe that’s because we know better now that we don’t smoke anymore and can feel the difference. When you quit smoking you can breathe better and actually taste things when you eat them. Oh and we don’t smell like an ashtray anymore either. Well at least not before we get into the taxi. Sometimes I wonder why I take a shower or wash my cloths.

However, I do want to take this situation and bring glory to God. I recently read a book where the author had the same problem when he was in this part of the world. He says that when the taxi driver asked him if he wanted a cigarette he would refuse and then use it for an opportunity to witness to him. He would start by telling the driver he did not smoke because God gave him two things, time and a body. He would also tell them that one day we will all have to answer to God how we used them. Both the author and I do not want to have to explain that we wasted any of the good things He has given us. I think I will try this next time someone offers me a cigarette instead of complaining to myself about it.

posted by LR

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, LR Great story. I laughed because I can relate. In fact, I was asked yesterday that same question. I gave the same response. You've challenged me to consider a different response to that question. Thanks. GT