Sunday, 23 December 2007
Paris non fumeur
I can't believe that we may have just had our last dinner in a smokey restaurant or brasserie. Supposedly, all cafes, restaurants, etc., are going non smoking in January in Paris. Almost every time I'm in a cafe with someone, we get annoyed by the smoke, and invariably someone remarks that they can't believe it's all changing in January.
I'll have to see it to believe it. I think, but I'm not sure, that smoking can still happen at outside tables. If this is the case, in nice weather, all the outdoor space will be thick with smoke which will be a shame for non-smokers like me. (Actually, truth be known, I'm really a smoker at heart who hasn't had a cigarette in 21 years- I had a regular habit as a teen and young adult. I'm married to a deep down non-smoker who smoked for a number of years.)
Anyway, as of January 1, 2008, you will see people having heated discussions at cafes while chewing gum like mad, or while gnawing on their fingernails. And at regular intervals, someone in the group will amble over to the door, duck outside and have a smoke, and re-enter about 5-7 minutes later. People will have to get used to missing out on parts of conversations, or they'll have to tough it out.
I wonder if they'll be any surprising side effects from the ban of smoking in bars and such. For example, my friend in Dublin said that when the pubs went non-smoking in Ireland, there was an awful odor of gas throughout. This may be due to the drinking of Guinness and the dark ales and the like.
Maybe the side effect of a smoking ban in Paris will be that people will become even more amorous in public. Instead of a non-smoking section, we'll be looking for a non-groping section. Who knows, time will tell.
I expect to see some resistance. Although, unlike Cincinnati, when Paris passed the non smoking law, it provided for paid enforcers of the law who can dole out tickets for offenders- 88 Euros for an individual, and over 100 Euros for the establishment. It will be interesting. We'll be in Cincinnati until the first week of January, where people, despite the lack of enforcement, have generally obeyed the law.