Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Up in Smoke

I'm putting this up here as a reminder of what youtube.com is all about (OK, and because my friends at BSmoked Turkey's Original All Nite Diner might like it, and it'll piss off Mackenzie). It may not be up much longer because of youtube's deal with Google, but who knows, at the end of the day, Google owns THIS site and most of what we see on the web.

This is one example of what I love about youtube. Finding some raw gem that you can't get on a DVD. Hell, I have no clue where this came from. I'm just glad that it EXISTS.

The news of the youtube deal with google came on the same night that I went out to one of my favorite Omaha establishments. It's not like they ever had the greatest food, and they didn't serve any special scotch that I couldn't find somewhere else, but the hired help and clientele were always special, and the major reason I kept going there for the better part of 7 years.

Then last week came. At 12:00 AM on Monday, October 2nd, the infamous and somewhat confusing smoking ban took over a majority of Omaha restaurants. But not all of them. In a nutshell, here's what the ban stipulates:
  • Any establishment that serves food must now be a non-smoking establishment...Unless you are an official KENO place. You have Keno, folks can smoke. I'm stunned at how many people learned of this loophole back in May and immediately applied for a Keno license just so patrons could continue to smoke cigarettes indoors.
  • If you're a bar in Douglas County and don't serve food, you can continue to allow patrons to smoke for the next five years, but after that, smoking is GONE.
  • Counties that are still "in" Omaha like Ralston and LaVista et al: You can still smoke anywhere all you want.
  • You still can't light up marijuana for medicinal purposes or any other for that matter anywhere, no matter how much Woody Harrelson whines about it.

I should note right here that I've never smoked a cigarette in my life. I've certainly enjoyed the occasional cigar in my life, but that was mainly because David Letterman made it look so fun. So I could have given two shits about non-smoking or smoking. The greatest plus was that I could go someplace and not have my clothes wreak of smoke.

Or so I thought.

Tonight, I went to one of my old haunts, a place that still serves food but didn't go after the coveted Keno license, because seriously who wants to play Keno all that much? I didn't think this was a place that would be affected at all by the smoking ban. It's a bar/restaurant that pours great scotch, serves relatively decent food, is a great neighborhood hangout and oh by the way has a cigarette machine -- STILL.

I was stunned when I walked in with a good friend of mine, who still smokes. The crowd was just so AWKWARD. People I can't even remember seeing out in a social setting before. Young yuppie scum. People with children. Older folks who looked like they hadn't been out since the 1960's. A jukebox that was playing "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard. All of a sudden, it was no place I wanted to be.

I asked the manager, who I've become great friends with over the past 7 years since I started going there, how things were going, and she stared at me for almost 20 seconds.

"I'm going to the hockey game in 5 minutes," she said. "I can't wait to ditch this place."

"That bad?" I asked.

"These people don't even tip 10 per cent," she said. "My wait staff is bitching about how they can't make the money they need here anymore. I'm training a new person (pointing to a new employee who looked like she had no earthly business being there). I've got two more new people starting tomorrow..."

"Change is tough on all of us," I tried to comfort her. Then she tried to bring me into her world over the past two weeks.

"We don't have anymore regulars," she said. "These people order maybe one Bud Light, look around in awe, and almost can't believe that they're OUT. I've never seen anything like this. I don't know what to do."

As she was getting ready to diss the place and head to a collegiate hockey game, I reminded her how much people would come through the woodworks for the fish and chips, how great the location was, and eventually the regulars would get used to the new order, smoke outside when needed. She'd have none of it, point across the street and show how there was a drink only establishment that had a line outside the door -- at 5:30 on a TUESDAY! How her next door neighbor, who got their Keno license just in time before the smoking ban could come into place, was doing major business, even more than before October 2nd.

Again, I told her Omaha was behind the times, that California and hell even Lincoln, Nebraska had smoking bans in place before Omaha even considered such a thing. But I knew better. I knew that even if this is better for the world as a whole, even if I don't smoke, the whole damn lineups changed. This was literally like the gutting of the 1997 Florida Marlins after the won the World Series.

Other than my clothes smelling fine, there's just nothing good about this right now. Who knows what the hell will happen with youtube now. All I know is it's early in the game, but I sure as hell don't like the new fuckers going into my old favorite haunts. It's almost enough to get me to start smoking.

1 comment:

BSmokedTurkey said...

Those dirty hippies sure could sing.

Is Mac down on the Eagles? I don't understand. I was aware of his Steve Miller Band hatred but this is new to me.