You Don’t Smoke?


As I was standing outside waiting for a ride, a woman locked eyes with me and walked directly toward me. I found this very unusual behavior, as I’ve come to know Austrians as reserved people who keep themselves.

Take yesterday for example. I apparently walked for 2 blocks, at least, dragging my white sweater on the ground. Not a soul stopped me to say anything of it.

But this woman was heading directly for me.

Then the second shock happened. She spoke to me – in English. I suppose my appearance simply screams American, but never before, outside of University functions, has some begun a conversation with me in English.

“Excuse me. Might you have a cigarette?”

“No. I don’t.”

“You don’t smoke?”

I answered again in the negative, wondering why she seemed so surprised I didn’t smoke.

Then I looked next to me and realized I’m waiting squarely in the smokers’ corner.


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