The Dangers and Ignorance Can Make It Hard to Breathe
I am not a huge music fan at heart. My interests lie in other areas of the arts. So it’s a big deal when I purchase tickets to a concert. One of my favorite bands that I will go out of my way to see is Gov’t Mule. You may not know them, but I bet you have heard of some of their members like Warren Haynes from the Allman Brothers. The band is a perfect mix of rock, blues and a little of something in between. They bring out a bit of hippie in this Ann Taylor loving middle class chic. Their concerts are really something I look forward to because they are one of those bands that everything they play sound like a hit. You can imagine my excitement on my way to the concert last Saturday evening — I hadn’t seen them since last October.
We pull into the parking lot and all seems well. We get into the amphitheatre and as we are having our tickets checked I ask – There is no smoking in the seated section right? The attendant answered “That’s correct ma’am (we say that here in the south), just in the lawn area. I was happy with that answer because our seats were in front — seventh row to be exact. As an asthma sufferer, I always try to be mindful of my surroundings because I never know what trigger will pop up without notice.
As I am sitting in my seat waiting for the concert to start, I begin to smell cigarette smoke. I look up to my left, to my horror the venue is allowing people to smoke on the concession deck just above our seats. Immediately it feels like my air supply is lessening and there’s a light brick on my chest. But a cool breeze starts to roll in, it pushes to smoke away and I think OK, this will help – I can do this (I am a little stubborn). I feel tightness in my chest, but I can still breathe.
Then as the concert begins, I smell smoke behind me, its people in the rows behind me lighting up (ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!). My air supply starts to fade and is replaced with a severe burning in my chest. I see some event personnel trying to “police” them which helps but, as soon as they “put out one fire” another smoker lights up. Now, I have smoke coming from above (the breeze subsided) and behind me. My lungs just can’t take it and so it begins the first of several coughing fits and then attacks. Then comes the anger at these smokers who feel like they can infringe on the rights of others to breathe clean air and enjoy an outdoor show (my eyes could shoot out daggers) and anger at the stupidity of the venue to allow smoking right above prime concert seating which is supposed to be smoke-free!
As we are leaving (early) my lungs feeling like hot coals, I can barely breathe and my throat feels like it’s been scratched on the inside, I am wondering how many days I will have to pay for breathing in all the smoke. I am so frustrated, very sad and boiling-over-angry. I feel that because of the bad habits of others and me not being able to control an outside environment, this might be the last outdoor concert I attend.