On Sunday evening I did something I hadn't ever done before. I went to a Bike meet. This wan't an expo, or a fair, or a commercial event of any description - just a large-ish car park and a couple of hundred bikers of all shapes, sizes, creeds, colours and genders. Very inclusive - it didn't matter what bike you ride, what leathers (or not) you wore, or anything else, for that matter.
But, what has made me sit down and blog is that there was a fair old number of vapers there. I didn't do an exact head count, but out of well over a hundred bikes and a few more bikers (two up and all that), there must have been well over twenty vapers.
And nobody gave a tuppeny toss. Nobody made any comment. Nobody remarked on it, nobody gave out any fake coughs, there was no wafting of vapour. Vaping, it seems, was either perfectly normal or, frankly, "meh". There was a little discussion that I took part in - mostly about one biker's iStick battery being flat - but nobody really making a big thing about it.
Nope. Everybody was far more interested in the motorcycle hardware, clever skid lids, runs out and that kind of thing. Vaping was just happening, like it was a perfectly natural and normal thing. Nothing to see here, kind of thing, just normal.
And that's what scares the shit out of some folks, in my (far from) humble opinion.
In a conversation I had in Durham a while back, after Marewa Glover had stunned a few folks with her thoughts, one young lady hailing from North America (should could have been either Canadian or USAnian - she'd adopted a few Geordie-isms, so I couldn't tell) claimed to be an asthmatic, and was very much opposed to, as she put it "people using the those things everywhere".
She had no desire, it seems, to go into a pub, bar, or, indeed, ANY indoor space and "see folks using them". She didn't want anywhere to allow vaping. At all. Because SHE might want to go there. I asked her whether she'd be happy if venues explicitly stated, via signage, that they were Vape friendly. No, she said, that wasn't enough. They shouldn't be allowed, because SHE might want to go there, and the mere fact that they allowed vaping meant that she couldn't go there.
I asked her whether she thought that might be a bit, you know, selfish. No, she said, it's not being selfish on her part. I'm being selfish because I want to Vape where somebody who doesn't Vape might want to go. I suggested she might not feel comfortable in venues that use use fog and haze machines. Apparently they want banning too - because even the slightest whiff of vapour sets her asthma off. Which is an obvious lie, given that I'd been demonstrating a fairly hefty cloud-making device (considerately, blowing down and not producing cumulo-nimbus level cloudage) , and there was a definite, though delicate, haze in the atmosphere. She hadn't even sniffed, and she didn't when her mate asked me to give it some welly, which, naturally, I did (by now she'd annoyed me quite intensely and I felt the need to prove she was being disingenuous).
No, she said, she didn't want to be in a culture where "that kind of thing" is normal.
I really want to take to the next bike meet.