Today I accompanied a friend to the Leicester Royal Infirmary as he was somewhat nervous. The department he needed was situated on the first floor, which was not good for escaping for a fag - until we discovered an open door leading to a delightful patio'd area with benches & tables etc.
Well, an hour into this inevitable time warp of waiting around saw us testing the door and escaping onto this patio. Fag tolips, ignition, sheer heaven! We watched as the breeze whipped the exhalations away from the building and over the car park until it disappeared form view. Our bit towards 'global warming' no doubt.
Half way through this most enjoyable exercise another door was suddenly flung open and a young, rather excited nurse appeared and the following exchage took place:-
N:- Put those cigarettes out immediately, this is a no smoking hospital.
Yours truly (YT):- Indeed it may be sweetheart, but you can see we are actually outside.
N:- That doesn't matter, it's against the law to smoke on hospital grounds.
YT:- Err, wrong babe. Check it out.
N:- I'm telling you it's against the law, the hospital don't allow it.
YT:- Ah, now you have defined things correctly babe, "the hospital trust don't allow it" is more like the 'law' you think you are talking about. (she stared to look less confident)
N:- You cannot smoke out here, look, the signs say so.
YT:- Indeed your delapidated, weather beaten signs indicate such but they only transfer the wishes of the hospital trust upon the people, they do not state the law of the land. We are outside babe, not inside - smoking is only forbidden inside enclosed spaces and from my reckoning we have one solid wall with a door in and then 3 open sides, a guard rail and no roof.
N:- But your smoke is entering the windows and the patients are having to 'smell' your smoke. (My friend looked at me a bit concerned here!)
YT:- Come with me I offered, and walked over to the balcony. There's our 'escape' door onto this beautiful patio, it's shut. There are 6 windows along the balcony and all 6 are shut. There are no vents open and worse still, the wind is taking the exhaled smoke away from the building and over the car park so I don't quite see how any of your gallant, but totally erroneous assertions are true! And what do we have we out here - 9 signs affixed to walls and balcony? Just imagine the valuable resources wasted by the NHS on them! They are irrelevant.
(She was certainly not happy with that!)
N:- I shall report you to the security people if you don't stop smoking.
YT:- Sweetness, I don't really care if you report me to the Illinois National Guard, they are not empowered to do anything about it - we are outside! Outside is outside, we are obeying the law. What the Hospital Trust decides 'it' wants as policy is another matter for that is NOT law, now be a good girl and go tend to your patients while I have the last two drags on my most delightfully stress relieving cigarette and then I'll put it out and place in relevant receptacle.
She was not a happy bunny but retreated nonetheless, muttering something or other to herself. We finished our fag and left not a trace of the heinous crime that had apparently just taken place.
Back inside we were greeted by my friends name being called out by a middle aged nurse. He announced himself with a wave of the hand and she smiled,"twice I've called you" she informed us, "been out for a fag have we? - it's amazing how many do!". The twinkle in her eye told us that experience of life was a great thing in reality. She knew the situation as opposed to our young 'eager beaver' nurse full of the indoctrinations of the anti smoking brigade. Ah well, she'll learn I suppose!
I think what this has taught me is the power of mass brainwashing. The hospital say so, therefore it must be. The hospital say you (staff) must stop smokers smoking on hospital grounds so you (staff) put yourself in a position of authority when espying a smoker. It occurs not, that these actions cause resentment (amusement in this case) and could result in another 'Dartford train' incident, balcony ejection or some other equally horrible event. It is the bigotted leading the blind into murky waters by not telling them the truth in the first place.
This can only lead to one conclusion - the anti tobacco brigade are simply immoral!