Friday, August 12, 2005

Smokers' Rights = A Bust of a Night

Thanks to grandparental babysitting, the Haggis actually went on a bona fide date this evening! Besides that being news in and of itself, what occurred on said date was pure blog fodder, bar none.

We went to Bistro Bis here in DC to eat in the bar area rather than the more expensive dining/restaurant area. A couple of people were smoking but I figured I'd suck it up even though I wasn't psyched about eating my food through a carcinogen cloud. As it happened, about 3 additional people decided to light up in the brief 10 minutes we were there. And, as most smokers do, one woman was sitting at the bar, holding her cigarette behind her so as not to put smoke in the eyes of her compatriots. Gee, sure wish *I* was one of her compatriots, because she had no issues whatsoever with the fact that she was holding her cigarette right behind MY chair and getting the smoke on ME.

Just as I was about to get all up in someone's grill about the smoke situation, we looked over and saw a baby (not more than 9 months old) sitting in her stroller near the bar, obviously the child of one of 4 women drinking AND SMOKING at the bar. All of a sudden I was less mad about someone smoking on me, and more intrigued to know what mother would take her BABY to a smoky bar. Furthermore, it was not clear in the ten minutes we were there which of the women was the baby's mother. Isn't that curious? I can't imagine if you saw me and The Bambina in a restaurant or diner or wherever for ten full minutes that you would not see me look at/acknowledge/interact with her at least once during that time.

It was so bizarre and disturbing that it set me off on a rant that ended (of course) with me cursing the Republicans. ;) How do they justify their support for Big Tobacco, small business (ie, banning smoking will kill commerce) and their condemnation of abortion for "killing children," but they can't connect the issues: a mother in a bar smoking around (and potentially harming) her 9-month old baby--with the bar allowing the baby's presence without protest? Why is THAT considered personal choice and individual freedom? It just seems so selective to me.

In the end, at the conclusion of my rant, we ended up letting the waiter know that we were leaving due to the smoke situation, to which he replied, "Sorry about that, but it's DC; what are you gonna do, huh?" And I thought that it was a such an insightful reply. After all, it's the seat of the government of the largest remaining superpower; it's the nation's capital; it has more intelligent people and brain power working in it than potentially anywhere in the world. OF COURSE being in DC is synonymous with futile, hopeless impotence and inaction.

1 comment:

Raine said...

"I've been smoking for x years, and it hasn't hurt anyone. It doesn't do anything."

I've heard that one hundreds of times. I'm probably going to hear it a thousand more this year.

Nothing says you love your kids like smoking around them. That way, they'll think of you when the asthma sets in, and they're stuck in a hospital breathing "smooth" air through a tube, while you're out smoking and drinking at a bar.

I have a friend that's got severe asthma. His parents and grandparents show their support for him by smoking non-stop, all day and night. And they wonder why he has to use a nebulizer every night, and carry three types of puffers everywhere he goes.