An Open Letter to My Chain-Smoking Boomer Neighbor

by Maxine Grossman
Maxine Grossman

Dear Mr. Blacklung,

We have gotten to know each other quite well while sheltering in place for the last eight months. Especially at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m., when you choose to indulge yourself in what I can only assume is a Marlboro cigarette lit and blown directly into the ventilation system. While I do love the rebellious nature of your stress-relieving habit, I have come to the decision that I would not like to join you.

You see, my tonsils have enlarged so much I can’t eat my favorite foods. When that happens, my stomach grumbles louder than the volume of your rants into what I am imagining is a Nokia flip phone. My nose is particularly itchy and your smoking only adds to the dryness of the air already hovering in my apartment’s carefully balanced ecosystem (a combination of Febreze, Gain, and Bath and Body Works candles). I have already tried taping Bounce dryer sheets over my vents with some hefty duct tape, but alas, your manly strong smokiness has permeated that too.

In conjunction with the above-mentioned points, it has come to my attention that the haziness of my Zoom meetings was not due to insufficient wireless internet, but was the result of smut produced by your habit that has now caked onto my screen. The stickiness of my keyboard was not due to an overindulgence in snacking – although the existence of snacking is beside the point – but due to the light trickling of cigarette butts and ash raining down upon me from the vents and wedging themselves cozily beneath my keys. Due to the sticking, I have accidentally unmuted myself in many unsavory moments and my reputation at work is dwindling.

However, please do not fret, for I am a woman of action and will not merely complain to you. I have ideas.

Firstly, please find enclosed six freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I am trying to both soften you up and make you feel guilty for putting a lovely young girl’s life at risk.

Secondly, I would like to invite you to a party for one on your balcony. The atmosphere has frequently been rated 10 out of 10 and the service has been given a whopping 11 out of 10 – impeccable!

And thirdly, if you do not stop, I will climb into the vents myself, crawl right into your apartment and tape your mouth and nose shut with my hefty duct tape. It’s pink.

Sincerely yours,
Miss Manic Millennial

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