Thursday, March 13, 2008

Free zone

I might be able to breathe easier at Steak n Shake, but that doesn't mean that I'm better off.

I don't smoke. I don't like smoke. I don't like that it is the cause of many of my relatives' health problems. I especially don't like that my mother tells us that she is going to quit because she knows the consequences, "quits," and then starts smoking again because it helps her with stress, because it suppresses her appitite, or because he boyfriend does it. They saw a shadow on a lung during her last checkup, yet she had a fresh cigarette butted out in the ashtray on the table the last time we visited. I don't like that.

I'm walking into Steak n Shake, and at the front door in bold white letters it reads "NON-SMOKING." Apparently the entire restaurant is the no smoking section now. The design of their buildings have always been chancy in terms of smoking vs. non-smoking designation, often separated only by a silver banister. Clearly several patrons felt that the light if not unnoticable and nonexistant smoke presence was putting them in harm's way. It was certainly making their whole dining experience -- including the greasy double steakburger, large fries, and cup of chili -- seem less healthy. "We don't have to deal with this at Subway," they were probably chanting in the aisles. The organization must have almost been at a stand-still. If they didn't act fast no one would eat there ever again!

On the other side of the interstate there are bars that have voluntarily put into place smoking bans. Again, there was obviously a fierce demand for loud places that sold unlimited alcohol and let you hook up with strangers who are smoke free. So much so that all of them are doing it. The smoking section at the hospital started in the designated lobby, then moved to just outside, then moved to 50 feet away from the building, and today there is no smoking even in the parking lot. No one is advocating smoking in the patients' rooms, but they have to go down the street now? Smoking breakrooms used to be horrible, claustrophobic rooms where no one could accidentally breathe in smoke, and now they don't exist. Smokers feel like outcasts when they haven't been going out of their way to bother people. They get taxed more and they're told to stand outside.

If you were to blow smoke in my baby's face, yeah, I would be upset, but if you are on the other side of the building, then I salute you. People should have the right to be a dumbass as long as they aren't hurting anyone else while they are doing it. Potato chips are bad for you. So are tanning beds. Yet it's stupidity and arrogance that we're trying to outlaw. (That being said, if you're reading this Mom, seriously you need to quit.)

Track 6: "Queen of Apology" by The Sounds from "Dying to Say This to You"
[iTunes] [website]

Catchy new-wave-pop-punk song from an album that just won't get old no matter how many times I listen to it.


  1. So@24 said...

    "Ego" has been on repeat in my car forever.

  2. Deutlich said...

    Very, very well said.


  3. SiD said...

    hey man, thanks for the comment on my blog, glad you dig the tunes.

    I'll add you to my music blog links.


  4. Lauren said...

    Well written. I completely agree with you.

    I was in Italy this past summer and, naturally, there's no smoking on the trains. Telling an Italian "don't smoke" is like telling a puppy not to can't be done. The bathrooms were full of smokers, hiding. It was kind of hilarious.