This weekend, the Mid-Columbia Musical Master Singers had our performance of Brahm's Ein Deutch Requiem. Prior to Saturday's performance with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, we had two rehearsals with the Orchestra and their choir...Friday night and Saturday morning at 10am. With that timing, it just didn't seem to make sense to drive back and forth between Yakima and the Tri-cities(90 miles) just to sleep 7 hours and wake up to drive back, so I got a hotel room in Yakima instead...and learned a major lesson.
Back in 2005, Washington passed a fairly draconian anti-smoking law...no smoking in bars, or restaurants, or most other public places like museums, or bowling alleys, or...most other places. If you want to step outside to smoke, you legally need to be 25-feet from a doorway. After almost 10 years, you just get used to not having to deal with smoke inside...and while I am a small 'l' libertarian...I've kind of gotten used to it. About the only place you do have to deal with smoke is some of the Native American Casino's.
But...when I went and opened the door on my hotel room Friday night, I was greeted by an old familiar scent...cigarette smoke. Growing up, my parents were both smokers, so I recognize the odor, and unusually for me, I went right back down to the front desk, because not 5 minutes earlier, I had signed a piece of paper saying that I acknowledge that if I smoke in a non-smoking room, it was a $150 fine, and they weren't going to pin this one on me.
Except...you see, the room I was in was a smoking room, because apparently the law passed back in 2005 allowed hotels to maintain 25% of their rooms as SMOKING rooms. And, when I made my reservations, I didn't specify non-smoking. With the hotel booked to capacity, and other people specifying that they wanted non-smoking rooms, I was stuck...there was no place to move me.
I'm not running the hotel down on this one...the room wasn't bad other than the smell...it's more a learning experience...and I have been sharing it with people ever since, because...a lot of folks, like me, assume you flat out can't smoke inside of all public places, and this 25% thing was news to a lot of us.
I just need to be more careful in the future. My wife and I probably spend 2-3 nights a year in hotels on date-nights, and I can't once remember specifying wanting a 'non-smoking' room...guess it's just been luck and good karma that have kept us out of smoking rooms in the past(my wife's good karma...that explains why the first time I go off on my own, I get stuck in a smoking room).
Now I know...and if you watched G.I. Joe as a kid, I don't need to finish that one for you.