Thursday, November 8, 2012

(Insert soft strings of opening theme music for The Friendly Giant) Gather round kids, it's time for another tale of the Oakville Smokers Club

MM writes:

Last week I worked late and didn't get out till around eight. Luck was with me and I didn't wait more than five minutes for the bus.
We pulled up to the platform at Smokeville GO station and as I got off I noticed that there was a guy in the process of lighting up right in front of the doors (pictured above). He at least had the presence of mind to desist while he came up to the open doorway to ask the driver a question. Then he turned and started lighting up again.
I told him that the area was no smoking, and to please move away. He seemed to have a hearing problem because he asked me to repeat three times. In any case, he shrugged and walked off, smoking.
I figured that this was one of those rare easy cases and settled back under the awning to wait for my bus. It was raining and the rancid butts littering the station were giving off their particular charming perfume of eau de wet ashtray.
Then the guy came back around the side of the station building - having made the full smoking tour - and settled in ostentatiously beside me.
So I pulled out the canon and snapped his pic.
Meltdown ensued. No stages of mounting anger - straight to screaming rage. Veins popping in his neck, eyes bulbous, spittle flying. He apparently had thought ahead (as far as was possible) to this confrontation and had been stewing since I'd asked him to move away.
Offered to break my face, break my camera etc etc. Kept shouting "DELETE MY PICTURE! DELETE MY PICTURE! DELETE MY PICTURE!". Then every once in a while he would cup his cell phone to his ear (consulting with his brain trust, I figure) and come back with an attempt at an argument. Like:
"Its ill-egal to take my pitch-er widdout my say-so!"
When I tried to point out that the sign doesn't say "no pictures" but clearly communicates "no smoking" he'd cut me off with another round of "DELETE MY PICTURE! DELETE MY PICTURE! DELETE MY PICTURE!"
I told him to get away from me with his stink-stick, and that I had a perfect right to take his picture and put it anywhere, even online, as long as I didn't make money off it.
This seemed to give him pause. He then tossed his butt and told me that since he was no longer smoking I should delete his picture. Bargaining with me to delete a legal picture, since he'd finished his illegal butt...
He wouldn't leave me alone, but after the first rage I figured he wouldn't get too violent, or at least not more violent than I could handle (see pic for reference). But it was getting annoying. I went into the station, guy screaming right behind and beside me, (like a little yipping smelly dog) and asked the ticket taker to call 911.
In the best tradition of customer relations that I've come to expect, the GO Customer SERVICE Representative pointed me to the bank of pay phones and told me to call for myself. I did.
Johnny Smoke continued to scream at me, so much so that the 911 operator couldn't make me out at times. She told me not to engage with the guy (kinda hard since he was within a quarter metre of the receiver screaming), and she took my details and told me the cops would be there.
Buddy went out to wait for the cops out front, I stayed inside.
Two cars pulled up. Nicotine Boy got to talk to one officer, I talked to the other. From the sounds of his interview the actual law on photographing in a public place came as a shock and crushing disappointment to him. The cops had a talk with him and asked him to be a good boy and got him all calmed down. They asked me what I wanted to do and I replied that I only wanted to wait for my bus in peace and (relatively) clean air. In retrospect I should have also asked to press charges... I had proof after all... but considering that the officer seemed a bit fuzzy on the bylaw (he thought Halton's 9 metre policy applied, and I had to tell him about the GO Provincial bylaw, he also asked why I hadn't (snerk!) called the (chortle!) GO Safety Weebles. (LOL). They told Mookie to leave me alone. He seemed to get it.
In any case, here is the shot of buddy, see if you can blur his features enough.
Also, as a bonus, a pic from Friday. This one could be better. I was in a hurry to get to the bus, but two or three smokers were clustered between the two signs in the alcove by the doors (photo below), it made such a great shot- it would have made a much better shot if I had gotten the other sign into the frame, but it is what it is...
One thing the cops said has stuck with me. They said that this crazy guy was a cream puff, but there were other crazier guys out there...They asked if there was some other way I could approach this. I told them the "Oakville Smoking Club Massacree in Four Part Harmony" (abridged) and that all I wanted was smoke free air so that I don't get allergic reactions with complications and wind up in the hospital again... and with the lack of enforcement I was left to my own devices... But that if I DID wind up in the hospital, I wanted to at least know that I fought in the most effective way what was bringing me down...
But I am re-evaluating my tactics, and maybe I'll come up with something less risky. I'll let you know ASAP.


Squiggles said...

At least the cop schooled the donkey.

But as this episode could have turned out really nasty (and really GO didn't take your safety seriously?) you might want to figure out another way to document their behaviour and/or have GO enforce their by-laws.

And for an organization that claims to be forever lacking the funds to do anything except raise fares: Start charging the by-law breakers! Gold Mine!

RonNasty said...

Great job on blurring the faces.

Dib said...

Last year, a woman threatened to throw me onto the tracks because I wasn't walking fast enough to suit her. The platform was crowded and there was no where to go, nor could I go faster. I contacted GO and they took it quite seriously and gave me a number to call GO enforcement. I suggest that you try that, then use it the next time this happens.

deepfish said...

I have called GO enforcement on a number of occasions.

Nothing happens.

The let the smokers smoke, and their advice when smokers get all psycho is to "disengage".

I think that's what they know best - disengagement

Thanks CJ for the outlet to vent...

TomW said...

The GO people should really have called 911 for you. If a customer asks for that, they should do it.

ExGOnowTTC said...

Deepfish is right. Both GO cops and cops in general always preach disengagement. Or suggest you antagonised them. But then it's ok to stand next to me and smoke, then threaten me when i ask you to move? And smokes have the hide to say everyone else is out to get them? I call bullshit.

Todd said...

From GO Transit's Passenger Charter about Safety:
"If something does happen, it means getting you the help you need from our trained, professional staff. " I guess the training involves directing you to the nearest payphone.

Anonymous said...

There's something seriously wrong with people these days.

Normally I whine about cops beating people down, but in this case, I'd have had nothing but praise if they had taken him around back and taught him some manners.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting tired of the tobacco police. Just to let you know: when you're standing on the platform, it's the diesel fumes from the train that are what you should be worried about. When you're standing outside of the entrance, and there are 25 idling cars...that is also the shit that you don't want to be inhaling. If somebody is having a cigarette, and they aren't blowing it directly in your face, there is nothing to worry about. Smokers aren't second class citizens, so stop treating them like it.

Anonymous said...

^Doesn't give smokers the right to act like a-holes. Cars aren't allowed to drive the wrong way on a one way street, and smokers aren't allowed to smoke by a no-smoking area with signs up.

deepfish said...

Wow, thanks for that - and here I was operating on the assumption that facts and reality were more important than your uninformed opinion. What a relief!

Try reading though - you never know when your unfounded opinion might not measure up.

Here is a helpful link to starts:

Anonymous said...

MM, if I were you then I would challenge the smoker to a fight. Since I'm a black belt in kung fu, that guy would have been down in less than 30 seconds

Anonymous said...

Here's a study of your study that you used to back up your claims.

deepfish said...

You flatter "FORCES" by calling that a study. FORCES is a fully paid front and stovepipe for tobacco that produces "studies" on demand. Their smokescreen can not gainsay the facts.

Here's just one fact - one puff of a cigarette produces on average 351 parts per million in particulate matter, that is about 7 times more than a car.

Andy said...

I find that most Donkeys carry these huge hockey bags on a crowded GO Train or subway then act like it's other people's fault for "blocking" them when they are the one who stand right at the door. Same ignorant donkeys who would smoke anywhere as they see fit.

Anonymous said...

People who smoke cigarettes/tobacco based objects, CHOSE to start a disgusting nasty dirty & self & loved ones close to you killing HABBIT aka ADDICTION!!

I & others like me, DID NOT...

Also as a person with severe asthma & COPD, who has NEVER smoked, I DIDNT CHOOSE to have to use oxygen due to my destroyed lungs, destroyed by my birth parents, constantly smoking, 2-6 large packs a day..