Friday, July 11, 2008


On Wednesday, I posted on the Ehell forums about my neighbor. He smokes (which is completely his right). He also has a fan in his bedroom window that sucks the smoke out of his house and blows in directly into mine. If the fan is turned on and the windows on that side of the house are open, those rooms smell like smoke.

We have talked to him about it. The first time, the window was shut and the fan was turned off. Then he put up a bamboo shade, like one that you would put up to block the afternoon sun on your porch. He opened the window again and turned on the fan. 6 feet of thin bamboo shade did not stop the smoke from being blown into our house. We talked to him about it again. Again, he shut the window and turned off the fan. Until Wednesday morning when I awoke to the smell of his smoke coming in my window at 5am.

It's summer here right now and it's hot. We don't have AC nor can we afford to have it put in. We have several fans but we have to have the windows open in order to get some relief from the heat.

So, I posted on Ehell, looking for some suggestions, a little support, but mostly just to vent. And then I was attacked. At first, the answering posts were suggestions, to get a fan of our own for the window, to keep the windows shut, to put in AC. I said we would look into the fan option but the other suggestions really weren't an option.

Then I was told that another option was to move. No, that's really NOT an option. That seemed like a really silly thing to suggest but I didn't say that.

Posters started defending my neighbor, saying that he wasn't doing anything illegal, he had every right to smoke in his own home and that I was being unreasonable. I said yes, but what about my right to NOT have smoke in my own home. It was my own fault for not getting off my lazy butt and doing something on my end to stop the smoke from coming in. That I had nixed every idea given to me and that I was being completely unreasonable about the whole thing.

Ummm, ok.....

All of this took place in the space of 24 hours. I posted on Wednesday morning. By Thursday morning I was being told that I hadn't done anything and it was my own fault, I just needed to suck it up since I was unwilling to make any changes on my end. Unwilling???? I had barely had time to get home from work, make dinner for my kids and sleep but I was supposed to have already gone out and gotten a fan for the window, installed AC and apologized to my neighbor.

There were a few posters defending me and agreeing with me. They were passionate and vocal and I thank them for their posts. I got quite a few supportive private messages and that really helped.

In the end, there were a couple of posters who decided that they flat out didn't believe me. They didn't believe that the smoke was coming into my house and that I was....I don't really know. Making the whole thing up, I guess.

I finally had to post that I was done with the whole thread. That they could believe me or not, but why would I lie about it. What could I possibly gain by lying? Certainly not a whole lot of sympathy and understanding.

I did ask: what if the situations had been reversed. What if I was the smoker with the fan and my neighbor was the one who had the smoke blowing into his house. What if I had then come to the forum and said 'yeah, my neighbor told me this but I don't care, I'm going to do what I want cause it's my right and he can just suck it up.' I'm certain that if that had been the case, I would have been told that I was being rude and inconsiderate. I noticed that no one really had a response to that query.

I will point out that most of the posters who were defending my neighbor so vehemently were themselves smokers (many of them mentioned it within their posts). I guess that my post touched on some very sensitive nerves. I never once said that I expected my neighbor to give up smoking or to stop smoking in his home but a lot of the posters made it sound like that was what I was demanding.

I don't care if he smokes, he can smoke 10 packs a day if that's what he wants to do. What I do care about is that he is actively, knowingly blowing his smoke into my house. I don't want his secondhand smoke in my house, around my children. I don't think I'm being unreasonable. I don't think that just because you have the legal right to do something means that you can and should do it. All I've asked my neighbor to do is not turn on his fan. When the fan is not on, I never smell the smoke. A simple solution, I think. He is not using the fan for cooling, if he was it would be sucking air into his house, not blowing it out. We are going to try a fan in our own window. We're even thinking about planting something either in front of the window or along that side of the house entirely. Hopefully, one of those things will help and we will have a smoke free house again.

I'm not going to stop visiting the Ehell forums. No goodbye cruel forum posts for me. But, I will be thinking twice about posting my own personal problems for a while. And that's too bad.


Liz Edgar said...

I can relate to your situation. We have a neighbor in a mobile home park behind our apartment who goes out on his porch to smoke all hours of the day and night. We don't smoke. We used to keep a fan in our window to blow air into our bedroom and that would just carry the smoke right in. Nauseating. My husband and I grew up with smoking parents. Gross. That does sound pretty rude to have the fan blow the smoke out of his house. Guessing he doesn't like it either. Frustrating and unhealthy for the rest of us nonsmokers. Sorry to hear you got such a gruffy response.


Zo-Be Designs said...

Thanks Liz. I let the whole thread thing upset me for 2 days. This post was my way of letting go of it and getting it all out of my system.

The good news is, we've gotten a fan for the window, set it to blow out and it seems to have helped. The only downside is that now he has the fan on almost constantly....can't win for trying.

twenty pound tabby said...

I don't have any solution, but just wanted to sympathize. Cigarette smoke has always irritated my eyes and nose terribly and if I was in your apartment, your neighbor's smoke would be hell for me.