The non-smoking cloud
Some time back our state banned smoking in bars. It was day full of optimism for me. Then this week we were in the mood for a burger so we decided to try one of these bars that we never would have visited back when smoking was still allowed.
We’d been to this particular establishment a few times before only because they were hosting certain charitable events. The smoky atmosphere was a serious gross out and we’d coming home coughing and our clothes reeked. It was disgusting.
This time when we walked in we noticed the air was noticeably fresher. How nice!
We placed our order and enjoyed a few minutes of the regional football team on the plethora of TVs.
Soon I noticed, however, that I was coughing again. I looked around but no one was smoking. It took me a minute to figure out the problem, then it dawned on me. A lot of people in there still reeked of cigarettes. The disgusting smell that clung to them was affecting me, just like the smoky cloud used to, only to a lesser degree. Amazing. “That’s just fantastic,” I thought. “Even when the place is non-smoking they still find a way to fuck it over.”
There was the one guy walking around who always had an unlit cigarette in his mouth. I imagined it was his little form of protest over the goddamn law that made the bar non-smoking in the first place. His quivering lips and tongue would fidget with his little unlit phallic symbol incessantly. Then he’d dart out to the patio for about 60 seconds and be back inside with a fresh batch of smell and another unlit ciggy back between his lips. Talk about an oral fixation.
The “outdoor” patio itself was visible through a big plate-glass window so thoughtfully provided. The patio was a section of former parking lot converted into a smoking area with walls that made it a tightly enclosed space. From where I sat I had a clear view of the people out there smoking away within the thick lingering clouds of their own toxic wastes. Such a lovely site to enjoy while dining on your burger, enjoying a cold one and watching the game. An understated elegance of ambiance to be sure.
Behind our table was the bank of state-run gambling machines that was a constant hive of bustle and activity. We could smell everyone as they walked by and frantically plugged their money in. Alcohol, smoking and gambling – three things that seem to meld into the perfect storm of civility. The earnest gamblers would hop from their seats and walk with urgency to the patio door, much like someone who needed to use the potty but had held it too long. Within minutes they’d be back pounding the “gimmie money” buttons on those stupid machines.
All in all it was a thoroughly disgusting experience. I could only laugh at the inanity of the “no smoking in bars” law. Like always humans had found a way to taint and destroy that which should have been good. Later while getting undressed and pulling my tshirt over my head, I noticed that my clothes still had that reeking smell. Just lovely.