In Light of Re­cent Events

The Monthly (Australia) - - CONTENTS - BY OSLO DAVIS

Smok­ers to­day are an en­dan­gered species. So, in an ef­fort to doc­u­ment this record-low 16% of the adult pop­u­la­tion be­fore they take their last deep, smooth drag, here is … The (In­com­plete) FIELD GUIDE to the SMOK­ERS of AUS­TRALIA 1. COM­MON OF­FICE WORKER

Oper­ar­ius aus­tralis

Rue­ful looks, sar­donic jokes, com­mu­ni­ca­tors of the best of­fice gos­sip. Po­lite to their smok­ing co­horts. Seen out­side fire es­capes, in al­leys, down past the bins, away from main thor­ough­fares. Male: Shirt (tucked in), tie (atro­cious), slacks (bud­get). Fe­male: Busi­ness ca­sual, some have cardi­gans, tiny hand­bags.

2. GOWNED IN-PA­TIENT

In­fir­mus res­pi­ra­tio

Seen on foot­paths out­side hos­pi­tals, away from air vents, of­ten laugh­ing with friends or fam­ily. Im­mune to in­cred­u­lous looks from passers-by. White or light-green gown tied at the back, slip­pers or thongs, in­tra­venous drip.

3. HOODED TEEN

Ado­les­cen­tia fu­mi­fi­cus

Twitchy, noise­less. Male: Spotty, goon­ish, solo­vam­pire-ish à la Robert Pat­tin­son, smells of mint de­odor­ant. Fe­male: Hud­dler, con­spir­a­to­rial, darter of eyes, sleeves down past her knuck­les, smells of musk.

4. BLACK-CLAD ARTIST, ARTS WORKER Ar­ti­ficem adip­isc­ing

Pale, sickly look­ing, hun­gover. Smoker of rol­lies, some in leather pouches. Ges­tic­u­la­tors with wide, ex­pres­sion­is­tic vo­cal ranges. Many quite bol­shie, con­stantly broke. Some­times still in cos­tume.

5. LESSER DI­VORCEE

Homo di­vor­tium

Takes long drags on dis­count cig­a­rettes. Pro­duces wheezy laughs through clouds of smoke. Ash in hair or on leg, chest. Male: Un­shaven, trackie daks, de­spon­dent. Fe­male: Dress­ing gown, jeans, make-up, free hand per­ma­nently in pocket mind­lessly fid­dling with lighter.

6. FAST-WALK­ING JUNKIE

Homo con­so­piti sunt am­bu­la­tio

High-vol­ume con­verser with mat­ing part­ner. Cover-your-ears-level swear­ing. Obliv­i­ous to al­most every­body. Mo­ments of sweetness and soft tones that can ex­plode into white rage. Male: White, loose track­suit, sneak­ers, gaunt. Fe­male: Jeans, short denim jacket, in­ex­pli­ca­bly wet-look­ing hair.

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