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By Connie Willis

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But the number of nonsmokings seemed to have radically increased since the last time I’d done a count. I got a red pen out of my purse and started to circle them. By the time my sandwich and complex latte had arrived, the page was covered in red. I ate my sandwich and sipped my latte and circled. The nonsmoking trend started way back in the late seventies, and so far it had followed the typical pattern for aversion trends, but I wondered if it was starting to reach another, more volatile level.

No long hair to put up with combs and pins and pompadour puffs, no having to wash it and wait a week for it to dry. The nurses who’d served in World War I had had to cut their hair off because of lice, and had liked the freedom and the lightness short hair gave them. And there were obvious advantages when it came to the other fads of the day: bicycling and lawn tennis. So why hadn’t it become a fad in 1918? Why had it waited another four years and then suddenly, for no apparent reason, hit so big that barber shops were swamped and hairpin companies went bankrupt overnight?

Under it, half buried in my jitterbug research, were the library books I should have taken back two days ago. I piled them on top of the stretched duct tape, which held, and carried them and the trash can out to the car and drove to the library. Since I spend my working days studying trends, many of which are downright disgusting, I feel it’s my duty after work to encourage the trends I’d like to see catch on, like signaling before you change lanes, and chocolate cheesecake. And reading. Also, libraries are great places to observe trends in bestsellers, and library management.

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