For the first night of the city's new smoking ban it was an unkind 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I've been ambivalent about the ban--as someone who's trying to quit smoking and whose job puts me in clubs most nights of the week, I was looking forward to it, but as someone who still bums smokes while I'm out, I was less sanguine. I went out last night half* to see how people were going to react now that the long-planned ban has become a very literally chilling reality.
If you've been to any other city with a smoking ban, you know it's not that big a pain to adapt to the routine of stepping outside for your cig. The little spin Chi-town puts on things is that here it can get way more extremely horrible outside--like, say, right now--so last night the sidewalk smokers were giving up after half a cigarette and heading back into the club.
Craftier addicts met 2008 with cunning plans that would (at least in theory) let them indulge their habit without exposing themselves to the elements--I personally witnessed smokers hiding in the bathroom and exhaling through a cardboard tube stuffed with dryer sheets. Knowing that some Chicago citizens are constructing actual MacGyver-type devices to help them get around a law that's supposed to help them be healthier, it's hard not to feel a bit of civic pride welling up.
*The other half of my reason was the Waterbabies, who are so fucking good it's hard to take.