Every time I drive west from Las Vegas my heart sinks as I approach the California state line because I know that, as a smoker, I will be treated in California like human scum. It's socially acceptable to be obese in California, to drink and drive, to abandon your kids and trade in your wife for a younger and more attractive one, to cheat your colleagues and collaborators out of money in a deal, but light up a cigarette and all the pathetic duppies who dictate social hygiene in the state will stare at you with arrogant disdain. You can be sitting on an outdoor restaurant patio within thirty feet of a street where hundreds of cars per hour pass by, but if you want to add a wisp of tobacco smoke to the exhaust fumes, you will be asked to step out back by the dumpsters.
I truly hate The Wellness State and rejoice in its current financial woes. I hope they end in a total financial collapse which sends the people who do most of the real work in California back to Mexico.
What a difference on the drive back, though, when you finally see the preposterous casinos of Primm rising out of the desert and know that you are within an hour of Silly Town, where the streets are wide, parking is always easy and free, smokers are welcomed and the phrase “last call” is never heard. It's as though there were a border between Saudi Arabia and the Old Weird America, and you're about to cross it, heading in the right direction.