Last year I had a short bout with cancer. I was fortunate in that we caught it early and dealt with it quickly.

I am in good health again. I’m feeling young and I am riding faster than I have in a few years. Life is good.

The only down side is that I have to go for preventative treatments semi regularly to reduce the chances of any recurring issues.

So once a week, when I should be riding my bike, I swing by the Campbell River Hospital and get treated. The staff is fantastic, and for an unpleasant treatment, they make it bearable with their positive attitudes. I consider myself very lucky.

Here comes the rant, so if you’re looking for my upbeat and positive outlook, that will be back next week, you can just turn the page now.

On my way into the nice new hospital with fancy coloured siding, shiny doors and windows and beautiful gardens, I am accosted with a big cloud of second hand cigarette smoke. It’s unavoidable. And I as I pass through the haze, I can’t help but notice that the nice new garden is littered with cigarette butts. I’m not talking about a few dropped in the garden. There are dozens of butts in there, and on the side walk, and in the gutter.

I lose my chance to get out for a nice healthy bike ride, so I can increase my chances of staying cancer free, but to achieve this, I have to pass through the smoking pit and apparently the garbage garden. Ironic.

Habits are habits and I understand they are hard, if not impossible, to overcome. I am no better. I’ve been trying to quit Starbucks for two years. It’s not healthy for me and it’s expensive, yet I still go there almost every day despite all the promises I make to myself. I drink more beer than I should and when I wake up with a hang over, I think I should ease off the beer … but I don’t.

Will power can be a tricky thing to control, so I’m not judging you for smoking. We all have our vices and yours are no worse than mine.

But what I don’t do, is spit coffee in people’s faces as I pass by, and when I finish my morning habit, I don’t just throw the cup on the ground and walk away. That would be rude, wouldn’t it?

So, smoke all you want. You’re an adult and can make your own decisions, I respect that. But please, don’t force me to share in your vice, and maybe look around for an ashtray before you just thrash our community with your litter.

I’m James Durand, and now that I got that off my mind, I’m Goin’ Ridin’…

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