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There are some mighty big benefits in being able to work from home. I never have to ask myself if it’s OK to pop off to make a coffee for a start. The dress code is as relaxed as the chair I can slump in to pet the puppy (that’s not a euphemism) and ‘Beer Friday’ can run all week long. Yep, life is good: no one complains about the vape clouds and the music runs to an incredibly loud volume. So I’m insulated.
I don’t stand around pubs, loiter in shopping areas or get any reasonable use out of my Speedos at the municipal pool. I don’t meet strangers who are non-vapers and I don’t discuss vaping with my friends. As much as I enjoy it I have the sneaking suspicion that it ranks up on the Interesting Scale alongside stamp collecting, train spotting and whatever the damn scrapbooking is.
Someone who barely knows me signed me up to this social media group, supposedly for freethinkers. The kind of people who, I reckon, spend their days drinking expensive coffee and stroking beards. The kind of people who are probably glad I spend my days at a desk in my lounge.
And, within a week, the subject of vaping came up. And within minutes all pretensions of faux-intelligence left the building as the activity...my hobby...was roundly derided. It was mocked. It was mocked like Biggus Dickus.
Now when you have the physique of an Adonis gone to seed you develop a skin thicker than one found on a school rice pudding, I could handle Mock The Weak. But...but...they were roundly making merry about my tube of steel. It’s never happened before. Ever. I’ve never experienced the “Huh, looks like you’re sucking a metal dildo mate” comments, even if I’ve always been aware what it looks like.
It transpired that they thought I was showing off, that we all vape just to show off. It wasn’t explained what we are all showing off but I bet it’s good. So I sought solace with like-minded vapers. We’re all there for each other – like members of a gigantic family of Waltons. We’re all there for each other, right?
The first thread I went into on the forum, the first post I read was by someone who had clearly been interfered with at Vapefest by a man wielding a Hellfire. “I hate anyone who spends £XXX.XX on a mod,” he cried in the style of a person who hadn’t heard the Elite War was over.
That’s when it struck me. That’s when I realised what vaping is and what vapers have become: we are the new cyclists. People in the real world hate us just for doing something we enjoy and subsets of us hate each other because...well, because reasons.
And so, in acknowledging that this is what we have sunk to I demand we have safety clothing to suit. Cloud chasers, for example, look a ramshackle bunch – the only identifying thing they have is a baseball cap that already looks stupid on anyone not from Harlem. We need apparel. We need lycra. I know what you’re thinking (and half of those words would make your mother blush). You’re thinking Lycra looks stupid.
Have you worn it? The gentle caress as it holds bits of you where they used to be when you were a teenager? It’s ideal for those arching backward moves as you attempt to watch your own exhale from somewhere you aren’t. It offers total flexibility when trying to thread four Claptons into a twin-post dripper. If we are going to be treated and act like cyclists then we may as well look like them.
You should see the headlight I’ve got on my mountain bike – cost a fortune it did. It’s far better than your headlight. I’m going into town now to shine it in people’s faces.