You Are Here is a weekly column by Andrew Bucket, regular BYT contributor and stand-up comedian. You can follow him on TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM @andrewbucket where he’ll try to not be annoying.
Dear Andrew Bucket,
My friend has this habit of leaving the table to go outside and smoke when we’re at a restaurant. Almost immediately after she announces it, it sets off this chain reaction of other smokers following her example. Sometimes it is only one or two, but recently it was 2 out of the 6 of us left at the table for a good 15 minutes and in that time the food had come and we are sitting there like “well, do we wait for them or what?” Maybe I don’t get it because I don’t smoke but do I have reasonable right to be a little off-put by this?
What do you think?
Non smoking section
Yeah, you definitely do have a righteous beef on your plate. I have smoked, in a very cool sort of undergraduate-girl-on-semester-abroad-in-Rome kind of way, for a long time. I’ll have one here or there in my off season, if I’m depressed I’ll get all Dennis Leary with it, and on the in-between-days if I have enough scotch at night time I’ll bum from the first person I see without any scoffing at the brand.
That said– I cannot stand it when people leave the table at a nice restaurant to go smoke. As if everyone should be SO understanding. I mean after all this poor person suffers from a condition. They can’t help it! In fact there are plenty of other habitual activities for which the afflicted should be excused from any guilt at leaving the dinner table for extended periods and disrupting the conversation. I mean, what about the poor folks who need to take a non-work related, non-emergency phone call. Excuse us, miss manners, Shelly is calling and needs to know the name of that fugly bitch from the party so she can sneer at her Facebook. I mean that should definitely get a pass.
No guys, this is not a tear against smoking. Smoking is a deadly and horrible vice and has taken many greats from us. It’s also tragically, tragically cool and pretty enjoyable.
I’m saying that if you’re a smoker and you think it’s ok to lead an exodus outside while you’re dining with friends who like you enough to include you in a dinner party of 6, then you need to check yo self. It’s not the same as using the restroom (although you could play hooky with that excuse and covertly smoke).
At the same time, I dunno, if you’re a twosome and you both smoke then it’s game on. Just leave a napkin or coaster on top of your glass so the waiter doesn’t freak. I suppose also if it’s not a nice place, if it’s not an occasion, if anyone at the table ordered wings, if there is a television on anywhere in the establishment, if there is even a mention of trivia, if anyone there is doing a shot, if anyone in your party is in flip flops, a hoodie or yoga pants– the no smoking sign is off, you are now Don Draper and you can do whatever you want.
I’ve been dating semi-long-distance (DC to New York specifically) and I have decided to stop the insanity and just move there.
My boyfriend is the only person I know in New York and I don’t want to immediately make him my singular conduit, tour guide, and spirit animal of New York. I feel like it would annoy him and put a strain on our new situation. I want to preempt that by striking out on my own and discovering the city.
I’m moving this month. How do I survive moving to a new city where I don’t know anyone or anything?
You are really making an amazing go of things right now and I’m not sure you even know why. Firstly, when it comes to long distance love, there needs to be a sort of critical distance. When it’s something as convenient as a 4 hour bus ride then there isn’t even this emotional boner to talk on the phone, or commit Skype sin, or any of those gross but fun LDR games. Instead you live in this limbo somewhere between love and obligation, always deferring a dream for real companionship while dating a a translucent version of a person. What’s the point?
Instead you’re grabbing the Big Apple by the balls and closing the gap between you and your own private Alfie Singer. That’s great. I’m also proud that recognize the importance of being autonomous. It is definitely annoying to make your signif’ oth’ entirely responsible for your fun. But when you get there you guys will definitely have an exciting honeymoon period where all you want to do is see the city together, and he’s definitely as excited as you are. He’s got a good couple of weeks up his sleeve that includes a few highlights: showing you bars, introducing you to his friends, and teaching you how to get around. Any boyfriend worth his weight in PBR should absolutely revel in getting to be the Virgil of New York for his recently matriculated girlfriend. But during this time you should be takings notes on which people you like from the parade of introductions, especially the ones that are a couple Kevin Bacons removed from your Biffs immediate circle.
Try to make some arbitrary plans and though they might not always be fun, the point is maximum exposure to maximum number of people and places. You want options, you want to be busy.
It’s either that or join an adult kick ball league… I mean, neither of us want to see that happen. I believe in you.