I’m still pretty gleeful as I write this. Last night, we had a really, really great experience with a local business owner.
I have terrible respiratory allergies, and one of the things that has become more and more troubling for me over time is tobacco smoke. It used to be that it occasionally would provoke a coughing fit, but now it’s an invariable and awful consequence of being exposed to smoke. This means that we have to scout out the road ahead of us when we are walking and cross streets to avoid smokers, leave outdoor seating at restaurants when a smoker lights up, and that my day can at any instant be reduced to a fit of coughing and choking when some freewheeling tobacco lover exercises their stupid right to smoke what seems like everywhere but inside businesses.
Since Oregon’s anti-smoking laws came into effect, I thought it would be easier. In fact, it’s worse, if anything. Smokers now hang out outside of dive bars and smoke on the sidewalk, which is….hello….a place shared with people who may NOT be smokers, and every outdoor dining area I have been in is still crawling with them.
So, we were at Sam’s martini bar in the Pearl, Olive or Twist. The name is awesome, I know. We were sitting outside, and someone a table away lit up. I was immediately apprehensive, but the wind was blowing his direction, so it was ok for a couple minutes. Then it shifted, and I immediately started coughing. GRRRRR. We collected our drinks and headed inside, but Sam spotted us, noted my obvious gasping for breath, and asked if the smoke was bothering us. We said yes, and he told us not to go inside, that he would take care of it.
And bless his heart forever, Sam went over to the smoker and asked him to leave. Never, ever, ever has a business owner done anything to protect their customers from smokers while I was around, and I am incredibly appreciative. It was nice for once to have the smoker have to leave, not me.
I’m highly aware that I have family members and friends whom I love who smoke, but I just don’t believe it’s right that smokers be able to endanger my health and foul up public spaces.