Monday, September 04, 2006

The Smoking Wars, Redux

You may have thought that Spain's smoking ban went into effect on January 1. But everyone here knows that it didn't really start until the grace period for bars to create smoke-free zones was up. Which means it didn't really start until today.

At a train-station bar this morning, one young man came in for a healthy breakfast of Coke and a cigarette. As he lit up, the waitress told him he would have to take his Coke and his cigarette to the smoking zone (which lay outside the bar, and up a flight of stairs). "Sorry," she said to him, sheepishly. "It's the first day." "Hah!" came the retort from the other end of the bar where a second man was drinking his morning cognac and coffee and watching the exchange of sympathetic glances between the two. "Another comrade," he said, as the three commiserated.

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