As of January 1st of this new year of our Lord, the great state of Illinois (great because, well, I live here) has passed a ban on smoking in public places and a strict policy of smokers having to inhale 15 feet away from doors.
Neither of these things do I feel one way or another about, truth be told. I was a smoker for many years, so I feel sorry for all of the people who are hip enough to head out to bars (unlike myself, who is now so tragically unhip that I spend my Friday nights in track pants wondering why all of the good programming is hiding far, far away from my TV set) and now have to go and hide to smoke.
What DOES bug me about this is that each door leading in to a public place now has a number that you can call someone from the state presumably and complain if they see someone not abiding by the 15 feet rule.
As a former smoker, I got really sick and tired of people who would make outrageously obscene commentary if I snuck outside for a quickie. The point of smoking outside is precisely to avoid sticking someone else in an enclosed room, so I had been trying to do everyone a FAVOR by not subjecting them to it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, secondhand smoke smells bad. It does, I’m not denying that.
But to be fair, so does liberally dousing yourself in Adidas cologne or deciding that showers are overrated and deodorant is for pussies. Sure, maybe these personal hygiene choices don’t cause cancer, but I’m pretty sure that the 0.4 seconds you were near my lit cigarette would not make much of a difference either way.
Besides, you can’t tell me having to sit inside a bathroom stall in which someone has just blown liberal ass all over the place, isn’t at least mildly carcinogenic (and infinitely more disgusting).
(Obviously, if someone is an ashmatic or allergic, well, that makes sense.)
But even now, two kids later, I would never be rude enough to flail my arms wildly and make a huge production about how “smoking sucks” in front of someone who was sneaking a puff. Really, come on, we all know it’s not the most healthful thing to be doing, but neither is behaving like a rudely retarded child in public, because sooner or later, you’re going to get your ass kicked.
I can only see Bad Things happening with the new complaint line, and I’m sorry as hell for anyone staffing that call center. Truth be told, I feel sorry for anyone staffing ANY call center ANYWHERE. “Complaint Lines” I can only imagine bring out the few and the proud (freaks), who can call and complain about anything (only in fine print does it tell you what you’re complaining about when you call that number, to be fair to the freaks who program such numbers into their phones) such as their muscle aches, the price and quality of generic brand toilet paper, and their neighbors cat WHO MAY BE SPYING ON THEIR HOUSE AS WE SPEAK.
Besides, even if you do call and complain that someone is smoking too close to the doors, what the hell are these people in this remote call center going to freaking do about it? By the time any ball could get rolling, the Bad Person Smoker would be long gone, just as I would be.
Even I’m not dumb enough to stick around to see what the punishment/fine is for this. I mean, shit, I have even been known to drive off while a Chicago cop was in the process of writing me a ticket, because, what the hell was he going to do? My car goes faster than his legs. Oh, SNAP!
(Dave, upon learning that I had done this, was suitably impressed and horrified by my behavior. Apparently, even after all these years, I can still shock, disgust, and amaze him).
So tell your Aunt Becky, providing that you are not burning effigies of her in your yard for defending Bad People Smokers, what is the strangest complaint that you have ever heard (even if it’s not happened to you) about anything at all?
I’ll go first. Your goal is to outdo me. It should be simple.
I worked for several summers at at outdoor bar/grill that happened to be situated right along a river. It was beautiful vista, complete with ducks a-swimming, bikers a-biking (it was right along the bike trail, too), and (gross) carp a-carping, but it was also situated squarely in an Old Money WASP’s nest, so our customers were often both snobby and cross. As only a mess of servers can, we bonded together in an us-vs-them way.
One day, as I was just coming onto my afternoon/evening shift, and in the process of putting out the Citronella candles, I was motioned over by a group of women. I sat the candle down between them, and one of them looked at me squarely in the face and demanded “Can’t you do something about these BUGS.”
It wasn’t a question.
And what she apparently had not noticed is that we were outside.
Being a smartass, and knowing that this was not my tip on the line, I met her gaze and fired back, “Yeah, you know what you can do? GO INSIDE.” Then I walked away.