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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Two Non-Smokers Walk Into A Bar

On February 1st, Maryland banned smoking inside bars, restaurants and private clubs statewide. For those of us who do not smoke but enjoy the imbibing of alcoholic beverages in tavern settings, or at the very least like to have a meal out without hacking on the pollution wafting over from the smoking section of the restaurant, this is a great day for ex- and non-smokers in the state.

With that piece of joyous news, allow me to relate the events of a week before, as several very intoxicated friends and I traversed the still smoke-filled pubs of Fells Point in our quest to keep Bass Ale in business and attain new highs (lows) at table shuffleboard.

Here we all were: my boss, several co-workers, the spousal accomplices of some of those workers, and myself, all quite drunk and behaving rather, well, like silly drunks. The bar was Alexanders, a nice little establishment with an upstairs bar that offers such things as a Wii, a table shuffleboard, darts - and no windows. The air was thick with cigarette smoke, and after a couple of hours in this environment my urges for having a smoke were about to overcome my common sense.

I asked my boss for a smoke. Knowing I had just hit the eight month mark since quitting, he flatly refused. I asked one of my buds, and he also declined. They both told me I was stupid for picking it up again, and I knew they were right; I also knew I had been breathing their second-hand poison for a couple of hours, and was dead drunk to boot. I turned and asked a stranger, and got my cancer stick.

Oh, dear. Since I quit smoking, I have no reason to carry a lighter. My boss would not light me up. Neither would the bud. Again, I turned to a stranger, and got my light.

Mistake. I took that first drag and nearly threw up on the spot. The pain in my lungs was excruciating. However, being stone cold blitzed, I took another drag - and it hurt even worse than the first one. I threw the cigarette into the ash tray, happily proclaiming smoking as something that will firmly stay in my past.

There was nothing refreshing about it. It didn't taste good. It hurt my chest. It smelled like I was sucking on an ash pit. There was not one redeeming factor in those two drags, and they damn near put me off drinking for the rest of the evening. In a word - yuck!

Last night I returned to that same bar with a friend. Same upstairs, same shuffleboard, same crappy scores - but no smoke. How nice to be able to enjoy a few beers and not exit the bar smelling like a trash fire, or spend my evening wishing there were more oxygen available so I could differentiate my beer buzz from asphyxiation. My friend and I happily consumed large quantities of beer, secure in the knowledge that we won't come out at the end smelling of ash trays, or acquiring lung cancer to accompany the cirrhosis in our livers.

Good show, Maryland!


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NinjaCowboy said...

New York banned smoking in bars some several years ago. At the time (long before I had thought of quitting), it *really* pissed me off.

Now it's been long enough that that's just the way it is here. And now, finally, I like it. I'm not scared to go out. Though when it's nice & warm & I'll want to sit outside, I bet I'll be wishing all the smokers were inside.

I just can't handle being around that yet. I had a friend who's a smoker over this weekend. And I could smell it on her coat. The aroma mixing deliciously with the coffee she brought over with her.

I guess it takes a while to hate the smell. Hopefully not too much longer. I'm still surprised I even notice it - lol.

But 1 week successful so far. Damn near $40 saved....

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