Antismokers are a rum bunch of people. While investigating the smoking ban in Belgium (not as ferocious as the UK’s yet), I came across this post from Maltese antismoker Siggie:
It doesn’t make sense. He and his wife had a “brilliant time” in Dusseldorf’s pubs despite the fact that they were full of “revolting” smoke. I like the smell of tobacco smoke, but I don’t like the smell of urine very much, and I can’t imagine having any sort of “brilliant time” in a pub that stank of urine. It would be quite impossible. I’d just want to leave. So Siggie and his wife can’t actually mind the smell of tobacco smoke that much, because if they did, they simply wouldn’t have stayed in any pub for more than a couple of minutes, at most.
Perhaps it was just the sight of people smoking that was “revolting”. But if so, why did Siggie and his wife manage to have such a “brilliant time” despite all those revolting smokers spoiling everything. Again, I don’t mind the sight of people smoking, but I don’t like the sight of people throwing up, and if I went into a pub and there were people throwing up all over the place in it, I can’t imagine having a brilliant time in it. So actually Siggie and his wife can’t actually have found the sight of people smoking “revolting”, because if they had they’d have left just as if they detested the smell of tobacco smoke.
Or maybe it was just the subsequent “chest problems” that they really didn’t like. I can imagine that some delicate non-smokers do find that they’ve got a bit of a cough when they leave a smoky pub. Or wake up the next morning with a bit of a cough. But hold on. The “chest problems” seem only to have developed after Siggie and wife had returned to Malta. So they didn’t have any chest problems while they were in Dusseldorf. Only after they’d got back. While they’d stayed a few days in Dusseldorf, they had no problem at all, it seems. So why was Siggie “certain” that the “chest problems” had been caused by the smoky Dusseldorf pubs? Well, of course, Siggie wasn’t certain at all. There’s no real certainties in such speculations. If Siggie and his wife had stumbled out of Dusseldorf pubs, hacking and coughing, he might have been rather more certain of the cause. But to blame them for a cough that develops several days later? No. The cause of the “chest problem” may have been more proximately found in the two or three hour flight back to Malta, on aircraft which are inadequately ventilated since, well… , since smoking has been banned on them. Or, if you visit Germany in December, and mix with people in pubs, smoky or otherwise, there’s quite a strong likelihood that you’ll pick up any cough or cold that’s going around, and end up with “chest problems” a few days later.
Anyway, Siggie declares that he really loves Germany. And then then in the next breath declares that he’s not going back until there’s a complete smoking ban. So Siggie doesn’t really love Germany at all.
No thought for the Dusseldorf locals who, presumably, quite like their smoky pubs, because otherwise they wouldn’t go them either. No, there has to be a complete smoking ban in Germany before Siggie and his wife ever return.
Anyway, it must be off to lovely, smokefree Dublin or Edinburgh next?
But a month after posting up his gripe about Dusseldorf’s revolting smoke-filled pubs, Siggie is back with a new post:
Um, Koln is Germany, isn’t it? And Duisburg too? I thought Siggie wasn’t going to go back until smoking had been banned everywhere. It seems that New Year’s Resolution didn’t last very long. He seems to have forgotten all about Dusseldorf’s smoky pubs, and says it was “great”. Now he wants to go to some “good beer houses” elsewhere in Westphalia. Does he expect them to be any less smoky than pubs in Dusseldorf? Probably not.
So, not two months after having returned to Malta from Dusseldorf, and suffered “chest problems”, Siggie and his wife are off back to Germany for another bout. A whole week this time. You can’t keep them away. This suggests that the “chest problems” must have been rather mild. Not enough to have laid him and his wife up in bed for a day or two, drinking Lemsip, or anything like that. If I’d gone somewhere, and had come back with a hacking cough and chest pains and shortness of breath, I’d have had second thoughts about going back in a hurry.
So what have we learned about Siggie? Well, he says he finds smoking “revolting”, but the sight and smell of it aren’t sufficient to deter him and his wife going to smoky pubs. So he can’t really mind it that much. And quite clearly the subsequent “chest problems” that may have come from his hours in smoky pubs weren’t sufficient to deter him from going back. Nor, it seems, is he really particularly bothered whether there is or isn’t a complete smoking ban in Germany.
Siggie is simply exaggerating. He doesn’t really find smoking revolting at all. Nor does it cause him any real discomfort afterwards. Nor does he really, really want smoking banned everywhere before he’ll visit. He would really just slightly prefer it people didn’t smoke quite so much. Siggie is simply someone who’ll kick up a fuss if things aren’t exactly as he’d like them to be. And maybe that’s all that most antismokers are: people who will complain about trivia. If Siggie and his wife jetted off to Barbados, he’d come back complaining about the heat and the sunshine and the brilliant white beaches.
And one more thing about the self-contradictory Siggie can be discovered in the photo that accompanies his posts. In it, the smiling Siggie holds a telephone to his ear with his left hand, presumably booking himself and his wife a trip to Vienna or Budapest or Berlin, where together they’ll have a brilliant time in their smoky pubs and bars. And in his right hand he is holding a long and elegant cigarette holder between the fore and middle fingers, from whose appended cigarette a plume of smoke is rising. Seems that Siggie doesn’t mind smoking ciggies himself – just as long as nobody else does.