....smoking building! This morning at 7 AM, I saw the building across the street had "visible dense smoke" pouring from its chimney. This is a regular occurrence and I complain loudly to myself. This morning by 9 AM, smoke still pouring out, our building's E-list went to work with confirmations that, "yes, there was smoke; it was coming from the building across the street, it smelled, and someone should do something about it." 311 was called, a complaint lodged with the EPA; all done very efficiently. Of course, it may take weeks for the EPA to check it out.In the meantime, out the window I saw a man on his cell phone pacing in front of the building with the smoking chimney. He was gesturing, he kept looking up, talking in a lively manner (though I could not hear him). He stopped people passing and pointing up as if to collect a gang of witnesses to the smoke. He seemed to have on pajamas under his jacket. Finally he went to the door and tried to get buzzed in...and failed. Finally he closed up his cell phone and walked into the building next door where presumably he lives. Who had he been calling? 311? 911? the local police precinct? We'll never know.A busy morning for what seems to be a holiday. 

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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