Setting Boundaries

I know when someone has been in a car that I am investigating. There is a telltale odor – cigarette smoke. It can last for days. You can profile a car thief this way.  I have a friend with a teenage son who insists on smoking secreting in the car as if no one can detect it. He needs to wise up if he wants to avoid a confrontation with his parents. Because smoke lingers, I detest it when someone indulges in their habit while in my own vehicle. I have to resort to a scented deodorizer and the smell is often as bad as the original smoke. They are kind of sickly sweet and really all I want is No More Smoke Smell in my car. It is better to spray the inside of the car with a simple dose of Febreze or similar product. You will have to do this regularly if you are driving around with a smoking crowd.

I bring up this issue because I often have clients in my car when on duty as a personal security guard. After a few of them started smoking up a storm, I had to lay down some rules. In fact, I post them on a card centered on the dashboard for all to see. It is annoying when people pretend not to see them. I must find other ways to set boundaries. Why are people so resistant? Don’t they know that smoking is harmful to the health? Haven’t they heard of second hand smoke. It can be a killer. Lung cancer is painful. There is enough media attention on the subject that there is no excuse for laxity.

If I get really miffed, I ask the culprit to get out for as long as it takes to finish one cigarette. But then they are annoyed and we are a grumpy pair. I am going to tell clients in advance so there is no argument later. One time, a young man of means was in the car. He was heir to a fortune and felt he needed protection against a potential kidnapping. Most of my clients are older and I was not ready for his sass. When he balked about the ban on smoking, he raised his fists. This set my automatic reaction into fast forward. He saw me scowl and realized that I was a trained fighter. It is part of what I advertise as my security skills.

The young are brazen and don’t have the same sense of danger as older folk. He had met his match, however, and backed off. I immediately stopped the job and took him home. He apologized profusely all along the way but once my temper has been released, it is hard to put the genie back in the bottle. To end the story, I accepted to return to service a week later after I got a very humble email. I believed that he had learned his lesson and was worthy of a second chance.

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