Nicotine Fits, Part 2

So I finally ventured into one of the nifty new California smoke-free bars Friday night. I’d been putting it off since returning from the holiday trip because I wasn’t sure I’d know how to behave and also because I was a little worried about just how a smoke-free bar might SMELL.

As it happened, I ended up coping in much the same way everyone else seemed to be doing so. I just went ahead and smoked. It was very simple. Of course there were no ashtrays or cigarette machines. One bar even featured a prominent “no smoking” sign. No one — patron or staffer — seemed to care.

At first I was a little timid, cupping the offending cigarette in my closed hand like a joint or something. I guess I was afraid the principal would walk by and catch me. It all felt so very junior high; I feared a month’s detention.

By the end of the night, with several beers in my belly and a cute little clubkid on his knees in front of me, however, I felt much more secure. I was pushing his head down on me with one hand while puffing away with the other. Somehow the opinion of the State of California mattered very little to me at this point.

So I guess I’m a desperate outlaw now, darn it…

I hear rumors that the Castro bars are actually observing the smoking ban and enforcing it. I’m not surprised; they’re just so much more sensitive over there. I’m surprised though that no one seems worried about whether or not the noisy smoking drunks on the sidewalk will affect property values.

Of course, there is the issue of workers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Once again, I would state that no one, to my knowledge, has ever been forced to work in a bar. When you take a job, you understand that there are some occupational risks. In bars, these risks include loud music, smoke, and having to cope with obnoxious drunks. Obviously, many people have decided that the rewards outweigh the risks.

Consider this: dealing with rude assholes is detrimental to my psychological health. That’s why I don’t work in retail customer service anymore. I never requested a law stating that it be illegal to act like an asshole in a retail establishment. I knew the risks when I took the job. I was prepared to take them. When I no longer wanted to take these risks, I quit.

But as long as we’re “protecting” people, may I suggest the following:

  • I guess we’ll have to get rid of conversation first. Too many hurt feelings and broken promises. Civil liberties can’t be considered an issue if someone might be offended.
  • Let’s ban on techno and house music in bars because they kills brain cells and make me homicidal, thus putting other patrons at considerable risk.
  • A ban on being horny in bars is probably in order because horniness might lead to unsafe sex.
  • We should eliminate attractive people in cruise bars. Seeing these people could make some less attractive people become victims of reduced self-esteem levels, causing them to drink too much or (gasp) crave cigarettes. Come to think of it, we’d better ban anyone who’s ever been attracted to an attractive person too…
  • No more TV. Radiation, y’know?

Who was it who said that people who are willing to give up civil liberties to obtain a sense of “security” are deserving of neither? I’m off to have a cigarette and see if I can remember…