Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Have we lost our manners or our minds ... or both?

Someone posted this up on that yahoo questions-answers website, and the issue was resolved and closed before I could add my input.

"Would this be considered rude?
Last week I was at Disney World, and I stopped for a cigarette break in one of the "designated smoking areas", which is clearly marked and written on all the trashcans and ashtrays as the only places to smoke in the park. It's even marked on the maps so people know exactly where they're located.

Well, all was fine and dandy until about a minute after I sat down and lit up a cigarette, when a couple decided to sit down next to me in the smoker's area to eat. After a few seconds, the lady started doing the "fake cough" that non-smokers do when they're annoyed by your smoking, then she just gave me an evil death stare. When I didn't respond to her, she went off on me about how disgusting smoking is and saying "Can't you see we're f**king trying to eat here?!?!"

I was shocked. Yes, I know smoking is disgusting and gross and yadda yadda yadda... but if she felt that strongly about it, why on Earth would she sit down in the smoker's area to eat her food? Out of all the places in Disney World to sit down, you choose to sit in the smoker's area and then yell at ME?!? The area is CLEARLY marked... she could have sat across the street... I don't get it.

So was it rude for her to yell at me or did I do something wrong that I'm not aware of? Why would she sit next to me in the smoking area if she felt so strongly about smoking? I'm so confused.
2 weeks ago
Additional Details
2 weeks ago

Thanks for the answers everybody. I wish I wasn't so non-confrontational... I wish I said something to her, but I was just in shock that I was being cussed out at Disney World of all places for seemingly doing nothing wrong.

I know most nonsmokers are offended by cigarette smoke, and I'm pretty used to being berated for it, so I always try to be as polite as possible, which I thought I was doing by smoking in one of the few places I was allowed to in the park.

I don't know if she was trying to prove a point or what she was trying to achieve by sitting there... I mean, she was sitting practically right in front of the ashtray, so she obviously knew she was in the smoker's area. I seriously don't understand."

Something no one mentioned in their responses to this poor guy: not only was it a designated smoking area, he was in that place FIRST. When it comes to the great outdoors, unless there is a sign that clearly says NO SMOKING, if I see someone smoking and I choose to sit next to them,I have zero right to complain.

More and more lately, it seems that when it comes to smoking, people have utterly forgotten their manners -- and I am NOT talking about the smokers!

As most of you know, I do not smoke. But I passionately object to people using their dislike of smoking as a screen for simple, ugly rudeness. It's the smokers today -- who will be attacked tomorrow?

And now I will step down from my soapbox and let my blood pressure return to normal.


Anonymous said...

Obviously if it was designated smoking area, the woman had no right to complain, and even if it hadn't been she complained in a rude way. But I don't think smoking is the equivalent of many other things because it does impact those around th smker in a way that other vices do not (drinking alcohol, for instance). So it's a complicated issue.

kat said...

Everyone please consider this.....

"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

It is now necessary for the words to be added to such ....SMOKERS and NON-SMOKERS.

and Quit preaching at us. We know everything you say.

I just think that some people must Have It In Their Genes to want to discriminate and put other people down
and since it is now only politically correct to dump/bash Smokers, then they do so.
They probably ignore IGNORE every health concern relative to their own bodies and environment except this one.

I would rather smoke and die of cancer than be one of them and their mind-set.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Citizen: Complicated, perhaps, but reasonable people can work out complicated issues. Disney carved out a section of their park where people could smoke if they chose to do so, far away from the smokaphobics.

It was a simple solution that reasonable people could accept. Like enclosed smoking lounges in airports.

But unreasonable people do not believe in compromise -- it's their way or the highway. And anyone whose space they can invade in their quest to create their version of utopia, is going to give them an excuse to behave like a two-legged sewer rat.

Kat: I think it is better to make the categorization as rude vs. civil, as there are smokers, many smokers, who bend over backwards so far in order not to annoy others with their smoking that one hardly knows that they smoke - and there are non-smokers who will stand up firmly against rudeness disguised as anti-smoking concern.

kat said...

very good category to put it into, oh wise one (and kind and civilized one)

btw I enjoyed 'my rant'... rather than raise my blood pressure such makes me feel 'alive', the heart a-pumping :-)

Misfit in Paradise said...

Yay! I quit smoking 5 years ago but I still get annoyed when someone tries to make the whole world smoke free. Aren't adults allowed to make choices?
In addition, where are the actual studies that show second hand smoke does any damage? It is simply an accepted theory.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Misfit: I am thrilled that you successfully quit. I wish that smoking could remain the occassional pleasure that it ought to be, like gourmet cheese or fine wine, without ever becoming an addiction.

As to your other point, someone once quipped, "cigarettes are not vitamins" -- but neither are many of the things in life that soothe the rough edges of the day.

After years and years of constant, sustained exposure to smoke, firsthand or secondhand, I can believe that there could be health consequences, just as there could be from daily overindulgence in alcohol, hamburgers or cranked-up Metallica.

But as for what blows my way at the park, at a fair, even in a restaurant now and then, or while hanging out with friends who smoke -- I am not inclined to worry about that at all, let alone act like a jack-a$$ about it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I don't smoke and detest cigarette smoke (cigars are even worse) but the non-smoker in that story was clearly in the wrong for the reasons mentioned: It was a designated smoking area AND he was there first.

Her behavior was inexcusable. In a park as large as Disney World, there are about 100 non-smoking areas to every one for smokers. Surely she could have found another place to eat than next to an ashtray and a person using it.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Susan: I fully agree. The only conclusion I can draw is that the antagonist felt that because "smoking is a bad thing," She has the right to bully anyone that She catches daring to indulge.