Forty-eight hours into the ban. Am I alone in feeling it's kind of scary?
On Saturday night there was talk of little else by smokers and non-smokers alike. There was a small smoker's party in the restaurant and a few people brought out their hugest, finest, Cuban cigars. We had Cohibas and Montecristos everywhere. Two things punctuated it for me. Firstly it was the number of smouldering cigarettes left in ashtrays. It has always been unpleasant even when I was a heavy smoker but Saturday seemed more so. And I have always had paranoia after a friend's pub burnt to the ground when a smouldering cigarette was put in the waste bin.
The second thing was that a woman lit up the foulest smelling herbal cigarette I've ever experienced. It would have been extreme to ban such an item 12 hours before it was going to be outlawed anyway but customers kept asking me what the awful smell was. It was a cross between rotten fish and a bonfire. It seemed to add a finality to the evening.
So Sunday morning arrives and the ashtrays have gone. They have been so much of the furniture here it is odd not having to deal with them. Clear glasses, wipe tables and reach for a clean ashtray were automatic responses. Now there is less clutter. Customers have been co-operative and the anticipated furore hasn't happened. But it was quiet around town. Very quiet. The pubs seemed pretty empty. The restaurant wasn't busy either.
The one behaviour change I expected is occurring. It would seem that people are mobilised into moving when they feel the urge for a cigarette. So a pint here then, on the way to the next pub, they'll have a cigarette. And I am going to have to sweep the paths in the front of the pub daily.
But it's too soon to make any rash conclusions. I've put chairs and tables and ashtrays outside and I'll say a little prayer for good weather.
It wasn't my decision to ban smoking. There isn't a choice. So I'll just have to put up with it.