On the west side of Columbia is one of my favorite places to drive in mid-Missouri. At the I-70, Creasy Springs Road and Business Loop 70 interchange, there's a traffic circle.
I'm a good driver, and I haven't gotten any traffic tickets nor been in any major accidents. Nor do I speed, swerve or fail to use my blinker when merging. Driving is still pretty fun, sometimes, so you have to play within the limits. Ergo, the traffic circle.
To the best of my knowledge — meaning I haven't gotten a slap on the wrist for it yet — it's perfectly legal for me to drive around the traffic circle more than necessary. It's fun, so I do it. Centrifugal force gives me a little rush as my innards rush to the right side of my body.
I'm going to drive around that traffic circle as many times as I can because no one has told me I can't. Welcome to America. And if it hurts you, well, I guess you didn't obey that yield sign. C'est la vie. So sorry.
Boone County, St. Louis County and City and a growing number of other municipalities around the state have enacted smoking bans. They're generally lauded, as smoking is widely, widely known to be a leading cause of death, lung cancer and many other ailments, which is pretty much commonplace at this point.
So why aren't smoking bans?
I go for an occasional beer after work at Glen's Cafe, across the street from the office, where I'm greeted with a warm smell of lavender and old hardwood floors. Some other bars in Boonville greet me with the smell of Marlboros and Camels, which I take home to my girlfriend and cat, who refuse contact with me until I take a shower.
Back to traffic circles, it's perfectly fine to do your thing within limits. I really have no problem with you smoking, but sharing the road isn't like sharing air in a claustrophobic bar. Your smoke runs into me, imperializes my space and clings onto me on the way home. It's not like sharing the road with a traffic circle connoisseur who does you little more harm than annoyance.
I want to have a drink and enjoy others' company as much as the other patrons do. It doesn't make you a freedom fighter or rebel to smoke in a bar, it makes you callous to others around you.
I called up Howard County, and they said smoking is fine at bars in Fayette, and, likely, the rest of the county. The state of Indiana just passed — a day or so ago — a statewide smoking ban. Missouri is one of a small handful of states that hasn't passed a statewide smoking ban.
The whole non-smoking movement is creeping up on the Boonslick quickly, and it makes sense. It's about time city, county and state legislators move forward bills to stop smoking in bars and restaurants.
Still, it's legal and well within your rights, for the time being. You're going to smoke in that bar as many times as you can because no one has told you you can't. Welcome to America. And if it hurts you, well, I guess you didn't notice that "smoking allowed here" sign at the door.
Well, then I won't eat or drink at your establishment. C'est la vie. So sorry.