Sunday, March 26, 2006

A day of treble significance

Sorry if this is a bit disenjambled. I've just got home from my second volleyball game in as many days and I have two days of training to look forward to. I'm sore, dehydrated and knackered. Great time to do this...

The clocks went forward here early this morning. Yes, they always go forward the last weekend in March. Yes, I realise that the clocks in the US won't go forward until next weekend. I'm actually not sure who's the awkward bugger in this case. Apparently next year, the US will be springing ahead the second Sunday in March and falling back the first Sunday in November. So I guess it's you's lots who's the awkward ones. But for now, I'm six hours ahead of you's if you're on the East Coast. Learn more about the time change in the US here, a page that includes a stroppy message about appropriate DST grammar -- it's not Daylight SavingS Time, you numpties.

It's also Mother's Day. Yes, I realise that Mother's Day is the second Sunday in May. No, I don't think the Brits will change their's anytime soon. The date of Mother's Day (the correct name actually being Mothering Sunday) varies each year, as it falls on the fourth Sunday during Lent. If it makes you feel better, I think the US one has been around the longest and has been the most influential one (leading to other countries having Mother's Day). So, in this case, the Brits are the awkward ones, leaving the score 1-1.

But those are not even today's most significant events. At least not here in my bonny Scotland-land. My friends, today, Sunday, the 26th of March, is the day that the smoking ban comes into effect. People are no longer allowed to smoke in public places. Yippy! And yikes! How they expect to regulate this (without widos going completely mad), I don't know. I remember when I first arrived here. I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore cos when I first entered the airport terminal after exiting the plane, I was hit with the stench of ciggies. For me, that would always be the smell of Scotland.

People are seriously attached to their fags here (many people in the US are especially attached to their fags as well!) and many people believe that it will be impossible to enforce this ban. I personally don't think so. First of all, Ireland has had a smoking ban for a few years now and, apparently, it really hasn't been a problem to enforce. I mean, if the Irish can do it, why not the Scots?

Second, big chain pubs and bars will regulate themselves mainly to protect their bottom line: money. Pubs get a fine every time someone lights up in their establishment and there is no way in hell some pub attached to a conglomerate is ever going to compomise profits. And if the authorities are clever, they will post their enforcers not in these big chain pubs, but rather in small, independently-owned pubs. But I think that I'm assuming something that won't ever be the case -- the cleverness of authorities.

Well, driving through the city tonight, I saw many a people standing outside -- in the pouring rain -- to have their fag. It was delightful to see, truly. I even saw people standing outside what I would call 'old man pubs' (one at the Foot of Leith Walk in particular). I would have thought those would have been the most defiant of the order, but the pub goers were happily embracing it.

This day marks the day that Scotland has decided to shrug off the 'Sick Man of Europe' title they deservedly had been given. Why is Scotland known in this way? People in Scotland average less than a portion of vegetables a day (and that is only because they probably counted the potato as a veg -- you're supposed to have 5 a day, y'know). And some parts of Scotland, men can live only to 54 years. And yet, this is the Scotland that has banned smoking in public places, before Wales and before England. Today's the day I'm proud to say I live in Scotland. Let March 26, 2005 be forever known as Scotland's first day of independence.

5 Comments:

Blogger hadashi said...

okay, so i'm commenting, so you won't go ca-razy on mah arse, but in any case, i would've commented anyway...
just this morning, as i was listening to NPR yammer about the smoking ban (or smorking, as Erin says), i thought: huh, if only i knew someone in Scotland who would blog about this. and well, here you are. good thing i looked at gadawful myspace tonight!

Monday, 27 March 2006 at 07:01:00 BST  
Blogger 009992 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, 27 March 2006 at 12:14:00 BST  
Anonymous a.t.w. said...

whoa, you got hadashi on here. woopdee doozers! so you see this as doable. i just still can't believe all this crackdown bidniz. my dad agreed with me that you gotta let people smoke it up somewhere... this all seems a bit drastic to just nip it all at once. you know? i hate smelling like smoke but i'm not a hater. tonight on city arts & lectures they had fran liberwitz (what's her last name) who was quite hilarious. in her opinion, we waste too much money making/enforcing these laws in the states when there are so many other important issues we should be spending money on. i dunno. keep us posted as your society changes...

Tuesday, 28 March 2006 at 02:48:00 BST  
Anonymous Amah said...

What a great gift for a mother!! No smoking in public places!! Yahoo!! I do think there should be a sheltered place in big business buildings for those smokers that are so hardened that they have to have a drag even in the rain. We should have compassion for them, after all us non-smokers kicked them out in the rain anyway.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006 at 15:01:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

No compassion. They should quit! You Americans are too permissive.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006 at 17:29:00 BST  

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