August 07, 2006

Alice doesn't visit there any more

Apparently the latest inconvenience in travel is the nonsmoking hotel: Westin advertises itself as one no-smoking chain (although the reservation agent didn't tell me that when I booked a smoking room last month), and Marriot is planning to follow suit.

Excuse me while I get my vices in order: it is okay to consume alcohol at the bar (thus improving the chance you may batter your travel companion or that a pregnant woman can't have a drink without the lifestyle police coming down on her); you may hire a call girl (or call boy, depending on your preference) to come service you in your room; or you may rent a room for a high-stakes poker game where none of the proceeds are declared taxable income.

You may not, however, light a cigarette, under penalty of losing any right to a room with a bed in it. You may not, in most cases, be in a room with a window that opens to the outside; therefore you must breathe recirculated air, often considered a veritable petri dish (remember Legionnaire's disease?).

No, it is tobacco that is this country's undoing. Pardon me while I blow smoke in your face. I find it ludicrous to believe a career criminal, with a 10-page rap sheet, would be more welcome than I in many of our nation's hotel rooms, credit record be damned.

These days I think the nonsmoking adult who brings underage teenagers to have sex in a hotel room (even crossing state lines and theoretically bringing the Mann act into play) has a better shot at a warm welcome from hotel hospitality than I do.

Where did I miss this memo? How did Big Brother decide to kick my ass when there are so many other worthy choices? Did Big Brother miss the Superfund toxic waste sites along the New Jersey turnpike or throughout much of the Nevada desert where atomic bomb trials began during World War II?

The hotel where I grew up in Lake Placid burned down last winter due to an electrical fire. That was the place I first got drunk, got stoned off my ass, and needless to say, consumed many pastries filled with saturated fat. Under its current owners, the hotel forbid smoking, although much was made of its Adirondack-procured menu. Since they had already destroyed (to their minds renovated) the last place I considered my family's home, I don't have much pity for the hoteliers.

May I point out that fires happen, and generally create much more damage in one shot than second-hand smoke from a gross of cigarette cartons? May I laugh at the irony?

Alice likes to travel; she likes a change of scene from Wonderland. But you can take the Marriot, the Westin, and whatever other chains decide to delete ashtrays from their room inventory, and hope the cigar-smoking Wall Street boys decide to take another look at where their firms choose to send the dealmakers to stay, and recommend Marriot and Westin for the remainder bin.

Fire sale, anyone? Or can I interest you in an underage call girl drinking champagne with the big boys and playing strip poker for cash in the room down the hall? Just asking....

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Blogger Janet said...

I'm not a smoker, nor have I ever been, but there is a bit of a feeling that society's pendulum is swinging towards hating all things smoking.

Phasing certain things out is one thing, but acting like you and smoking were never "friends" is so junior high.:(

7:20 PM  
Blogger scout said...

Arnold Schwarzenegger, our esteemed California governor, conducts all business in a "cigar tent" on the grounds of the Capitol where he can smoke as much as he pleases. You would gain an edge in negotiating California business for your willingness to share his tent. : )

2:04 PM  

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