Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Second-Hand Smoke & Bad Karaoke

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged! Well, I'm back...

I recently moved in with my daughter, and I sought out a karaoke bar that I thought was great when I visited last year; but I was less than impressed this time. I’m a non-smoker who gets chest pains and migraines from second-hand smoke. I fought hard for the Clean Indoor Air Act here in Illinois and I know what the law is. This bar had a tiny deck attached to the front with two garage doors open. I guess they think that makes the whole bar an “open air” venue. It doesn’t as far as I’m concerned.

Then there’s the KJ. When I first turned in my song, he said that since I was a “new” singer, he’d get me up quickly. I couldn’t find a place to sit, but I have a walker with a seat, so I went out to the car and got someone to help me get it out. Then I found a corner by the bar and sat sipping my pop, waiting for my turn with my chest beginning to feel tight from the smoke. After about a half-hour, I went up and asked where my name was in the rotation. The KJ said “there are twenty singers. You’re in there somewhere.” I went back to my walker and sat there as some drunk woman on my left tried to start a fight with the woman on my right. I felt trapped and threatened but fortunately the woman to my right refused to engage the other and the owner and the drunk’s friend restrained her and they left. Meanwhile, I could feel a headache on the horizon, and I popped an aspirin, thinking I’d sing my one song and get out of there. By this time I’d been there about an hour, and the KJ started calling up people who had already sung. When he called up the second guy who had already sung, I was done. I asked again where I was in the rotation and he said “I’m doing the best I can.” I said “No, you’re not,” and left.

If you ever visit Fox Lake, IL, which is north of Chicago, by all means, AVOID BLUEBERRY HILL on Nippersink Blvd.

And you can bet I’ll be checking with the Health Department on what constitutes an “open air” venue, and filing a formal report. Fortunately, the chest pains stopped before long and I was able to drive myself home. They may have been partly anger—a reaction to finding one of my pet peeves—bar owners who look for loopholes to keep smoking in their bars--but the cough I've had ever since is quite real.

Hopefully, I’ll have better luck with other venues in the area.

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