March, 1994 (?)
[Well, I've been fooled again. Looks like this may be an urban legend after all. -dan]
I think the war between the smokers and non-smokers is heating up a bit. I went into a restaurant for lunch the other day and, as is my practice, requested a table in the ``no smoking'' section. They seated me, and I went about the business of ordering and eating my food.
Somewhere between the clam chowder and a club sandwich, I caught the smell of nearby burning tobacco. Upon looking around, I noticed the man in the booth next to me smoking a freshly lit cigarette.
Overcoming my natural reticence regarding confrontation, I spoke to the man. ``Excuse me, sir, but, when you came in, did you ask to be seated in the no-smoking section?''
``Yes, I don't like the smell of smoke when I am eating any more than anyone else.''
I asked, ``Then why are you smoking that cigarette?''
``I've finished eating.''
Silly me, it was obvious to the most casual observer.
I called the server over and made her aware of the situation. She pointed out to the man that he was smoking in a No Smoking section (I suspect this was not a startling revelation) and went away with his assurance that he was just leaving.
Of course he didn't leave until he had finished that cigarette and lit another. But at least he did finally go.
Apparently he had noticed the motorcycle helmet and jacket I was wearing when I came in, because in a minute or so, I noticed him eyeing the Harley parked by the front door. He took out a small notebook, wrote something on a leaf from it, tore off the note, and placed it between the seat and gas tank.
His next action took me completely off guard. He looked straight in the window at me, then put his foot against the gas tank and shoved the motorcycle over on its side. He then spun around and ran smack into a very large, bearded fellow who apparently owned the Harley.
That which ensued netted him at least one broken bone and hopefully a little jail time. After the police had come and gone, I helped the bearded gentleman right his bike, and noticed the note the man had left. I unfolded it and read: ``This will teach you to mess with smoker's rights.''
I laughed and handed the note to the cigar-chewing biker. I then went around to the other side of the building, got on my BMW, and went back to work.