Crying In A Restaurant

Something by Pat Nurse that I found moving:

I can’t comment on this blog for some reason but it’s well worth a read. If I could comment I would have said :”That sounds great. Do you have a link to the trip you took? I travel around Europe over summer. I’m always delighted to be treated with respect and consideration and without the shame heaped upon me here for the crime of being a smoker who won’t quit and isn’t dead. The first time I experienced it after the ban of 2007 in England was on a trip to Prague. I cried in a restaurant because I found the tolerance, care and respect for me as a customer overwhelming. It should be something that we all, non smoker or smoker, find normal. Both groups get along fine with each other in the Czech Republic as we used to do here. I think over there it is because they have a progressive stance towards new technology such as high quality ventilation systems . ” I should have added it’s also because they don’t have bullies who hate smokers making laws to punish them like they do over here.

What stood out was the one sentence:

I cried in a restaurant because I found the tolerance, care and respect for me as a customer overwhelming.

She wept because she had been treated with respect.

Isn’t it sad that she had to go to Prague to find tolerance, care, and respect?

Isn’t it utterly shameful that the British government forces its own people to treat smokers with intolerance and contempt?

About Frank Davis

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24 Responses to Crying In A Restaurant

  1. Tony says:

    Civilisation, courtesy, consideration and customer service. I remember them.

    Once, in the 1970s, I was flying somewhere (Singapore Airlines I think) and ran out of cigarettes. I asked the stewardess about buying some but I think there may have been duty-free complications. So instead, she gave me a packet of 5 specially branded king size cigarettes and a book of matches. Free. In fact I think she gave me two of each.

    • nisakiman says:

      Ah yes, wasn’t flying so much nicer when you could enjoy a cigarette with your drink and after a meal. These days, flying is an ordeal, what with all the (mostly pointless) theatre of security checks, the blanket smoking bans in the terminals and the smoking bans on planes. It’s no wonder that ‘air rage’ is a phrase that has come into common parlance in the last couple of decades. God, the zealots have a lot to answer for. They have introduced misery into so many facets of life for so many people. They manage to squeeze the joy out of just about every situation.

      • Rose says:

        Found with a wind up gramophone in my Grandfather’s shed when I was small.
        So cool.

        • nisakiman says:

          Ah, evocative stuff, Rose. That style of music was very familiar to me when I was a child. My father was a great fan of Big Band / Swing music, and always tuned in to those music programmes on the wireless.

  2. Lepercolonist says:

    “The customer is always right.” True, if you are allowed to BE a customer.

  3. waltc says:

    I remember x years ago having drinks with an older black guy–a painter– who described that feeling when he left the US and briefly lived in Paris in the 50s or maybe 60’s: the liberation of just being matter-of-factly treated like a human being. The Casablanca line ‘We’ll atways have Paris” just popped into my mind but smokers don’t have Paris , not anymore. What a goddam shame. I loved that city

    • Barry Homan says:

      O/T walt, what’s the best way to order Manhattan Roulette? Direct from you, and pay with paypal? I’m in Denmark, will only need standard post if I order it now.

    • prog says:

      Sounds, erm, quite normal. The EU is making most of the headlines, but it ain’t Europe.

      BTW, was smoking permitted in cabins John? That’d be the clincher for me.

      • John Mallon says:

        No, it wasn’t. We had a balcony but were told we couldn’t smoke there. However, after a chat with a crew member I learned that the discovery method was the sight of a flicked lighted fag over the side so while I smoked on the balcony last thing at night, I dipped the lighted end in water before discarding. I’m Irish and over here, rules are made to be broken.

        • junican says:

          We went on a Med cruise about three years ago. The rules about smoking were very similar. We found an outdoor bar that we liked and, believe it or not, there was an indoor ‘cabaret night club’ (for want of a better description) where smoking was allowed on one side of the large room. Guess which side was full and which side was almost empty? We smoked on our balcony all the time. Needless to say, we did not flick cig ends over the railing, and were careful to dispose of ash etc when we left the cabin. Why call attention to ourselves? We had no problems.

        • John Mallon says:

          I think that was what all of the smokers did actually. On the third night I did see a lighted butt fly into the sea from somewhere further back. The point I was making though was that on mainland Europe, having a smoke is no big deal whereas here in this blighted little island it can cause a commotion for no reason.

        • Pat Nurse says:

          and please do invest in a pocket ashtray and spread the word. Never give them an opportunity to either punish us for dropping litter or to call for outdoor bans because of it. Always use a pocket ashtray. Take your cig end rubbish home for the bin or empty the contents in your ashtray in a public bin. There is usually one that you will pass. In as much as I ask for tolerance for smokers, I also ask that smokers are considerate in return and that means not dumping fag ends wherever we like. I wouldn’t throw a crisp packet overboard so I wouldn’t throw a cig end over either. If I see anyone doing it when on a P&O trip, for example, I always explain how this just gives the other side ammo to throw at us. The only reason the antis complain about cig rubbish, without promoting the use of pocket ashtrays, is so we fall into the trap of annoying the hell out of smokerphobics who can then call for more bans on these “filthy, inconsiderate and dirty smokers.”

        • John Mallon says:

          Points taken Pat and I have alerted the web master to your problem.
          On portable ashtrays, like you I abhor rubbish and did have a set of twenty portables but they are all used now. So, if I’m out, I top and stamp the lighted bit and pocket the butt for disposal at home.
          But the Scandinavian experience, (and Germany too,) was that it was fine if you smoked and fine if you ate and drank also. On smaller tour boats, you could smoke on deck but not have food out there and conversely, you could eat inside but not smoke. It was common and acceptable to drink (alcohol), while walking in Denmark and Germany but not Norway.
          In other words Rose, smoking was no big thing, just sensibly regulated with viable alternatives provided. I had no self-consciousness about enjoying a smoke.
          That is sadly not the case in Ireland or the UK!

    • Pat Nurse says:

      John – it was your post that I tried to comment on over at Forest Ireland but couldn’t. It kept asking me to prove I wasn’t spam but I couldn’t figure out how to do that so I posted it on my own FB page and Frank picked it up.

  4. Bandit 1 says:

    One day, hopefully not too far off, decency will return and the current situation – and those who favour it – will be looked upon as they should be: with disgust. The very fact that the contemporary ‘norms’ have to be held in place by the force of law and by relentless propaganda mean that they are patently unnatural and unsustainable.

    • Rose says:

      I wholeheartedly agree, it still feels quite surreal.

    • Frank Davis says:

      The very fact that the contemporary ‘norms’ have to be held in place by the force of law and by relentless propaganda mean that they are patently unnatural and unsustainable.

      Indeed. Enforcing the law and relentless propaganda are both expensive, and should other priorities intrude, it will cease to be possible to fund them. I’m surprised they’ve lasted as long as they have, to be honest.

  5. Furtive Ferret says:

    The other thing about the Czech’s is that they seem quite disinclined to push authoritarian diktat at the general population. Having spent some considerable time in the country the liberal attitude towards such things is probably a backlash against the former communist rule.

    It’s also worth noting that CZ right now are debating TC policies in their parliament but wherever they do it is unlikely to be as draconian as the UK ban.

  6. Igrowmyown says:

    I am reminded of the time that my wife,myself and my daughter stayed in a Prague hotel a few years ago. You could smoke in the corridor but not in your room and you could smoke in the bar/restaurant. There was a large party of Slovaks staying there for a youth ice hockey tournament and they all smoked like troopers in the bar/restaurant, so much that even as a smoker I expected my eyes to begin stinging but because of the ubiquitous air filtration system in all Prague bars the smoke was never noticeable. Even at Prague Castle in the equivalent of a National Trust cafe, smoking was just….normal. However what really impressed me about Prague was the complete lack of cultural snobbery compared to the U.K.,please,please don’t ruin it you Czech politicians.

  7. Tony says:

    A few thoughts on vocabulary.

    I think tolerance is something that people should extend to anyone who breaches minor laws or etiquette, either occasionally or accidentally. I wish people would desist from using the phrase ‘zero tolerance’. What does it mean? A fine for speeding by one mph? I want to live in a tolerant society. But of course the real issue is about the limits to tolerance and that’s an entirely legitimate debate. As a society we probably are too tolerant of some things.

    I do not think tolerance is relevant to smoking. Smoking is not a breach of law or etiquette. Instead we should strongly insist upon consideration and courtesy. Everyone is deserving of that.

    Anti-smokers, (some) medics and the political class have a lot to learn.

    We should not tolerate breaches of bad laws either. Rather, we should applaud, give support and show solidarity.

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