"The Pipe Dream"
I was walking down a main street in the 1950's Midwest. I went into a place and stopped at a folding table at the entrance. Behind it sat a young woman who looked at me with pleasant expectancy. The place was a big open room, crowded with people sitting at picnic tables and talking. There was a light haze of cigarette smoke. I wanted to fit in so I asked the young woman if I could buy some cigarettes. Her pleasant face turned sour. I looked around and noticed that no one was actually smoking. I left and continued down the street.
I came to a recess in the storefronts where an entrance to a barbershop was. In the recess there were three wooden chairs and a coat-rack. The coat-rack was over full, even though it was warm out. Inside the barbershop it was crowded and busy. Again, the shop smelled of cigarette smoke and I decided to just sit outside for a while to get a feel for the place. An older woman came out to politely see if she could help me regarding a ...