My brother Jeremy was in town for Christmas and we were able to spend time with his family for presents and dinner – but yesterday I got the extra privilege of going golfing with Jeremy and Dad. After 18 holes (Par for the course is somewhere around 72 – I golfed an 85… ON THE FIRST 9!) Jeremy and I (Dad bowed out) went to dinner and then to smoke cigars.
Dinner was OK – but it was Mexican (Jeremy’s choice) so I wasn’t thrilled, but the company was great. We picked up a couple of cigars, Jeremy paid, and we headed for the Ritz where there is a great cigar lounge that we have been at a few times before. Now there was a statewide ban on smoking in public places that passed in November by liberal tree hugging smoke nazis, but it doesn’t go into affect until January AND it doesn’t affect establishments that sell tobacco (like cigar bars and lounges) so we THOUGHT we were in good shape to head for the Ritz. We were wrong.
The Ritz is owned by the Marriot (yes, google it if you don’t believe me) and the Marriot made a company wide decision to ban smoking in all of the rooms and restaurants AND lounges, affective immediately! The lounge at the Ritz sells cigars (at a mark up of around 3x the actually retail price elsewhere). They have a $1000 cigar on the menu. They have a built in humidor AND rent lockbox sized humidors to wealthy clients (real estate tycoons, Phoenix Suns players, etc) BUT they now ask you to enjoy your $1000 cigar OUTSIDE!
I know someone out there is cheering hooray but this isn’t a family restaurant and it isn’t a place where non-smokers spend their time. Even the staff smoke cigars here – they are able to recommend full bodied, medium bodied, flavored, long, short, midrange cigars because they have ENJOYED them all, so we aren’t talking about saving the lives of the poor staff that cannot get gainful employment elsewhere. WHY ARE THEY MESSING WITH A GOOD THING HERE!
Normally, sitting outside in Arizona would not be a bad thing – the weather is nice here 11 1/2 months out of the year. But this time of year the temperature drops 15-20 degrees within a hour of sunset AND last night was one of the three days a year here that it rains! Yes, it was around 50 degrees and rainy last night and it dropped to the low 40’s as the night progressed.
We sat a little crowed under an awning on damp chairs near a couple of heaters with our coats and sweaters on. I had a Rocky Patel AND a CAO Bella Vanilla flavored cigar. They were both good.
There was an upside to the night – we sat next to a couple of lawyers with the same level of passion on political and social issues as me – in the opposite direction! I enjoyed the fast paced, quick witted, sometimes loud banter as we attempted to solve the world’s problems while enjoying a cigar in one hand, a scotch in the other (diet coke for me), and a hockey game in the background.
P.S. While sitting with two lawyers my brother felt it necessary (as did I) to tell them the difference between a shame and a pity:
Q: What’s the difference between a shame and a pity?
A: If a busload of lawyers goes over a cliff, and there are no survivors, that’s known as a pity. If there were any empty seats, that’s a shame.
P.P.S. I tried to tell Jeremy that lawyer jokes don’t work in a crowd because lawyers don’t think they are funny and non-lawyers don’t think they are jokes… OK, OK I’ll stop….