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I gave up and went back to my beer. The door guy, who sat less than 10 feet away, continued to read Harold Robbins' Sin City, indifferent to the bathroom conference.
About 10 minutes later, this happy group left the bathroom. I stopped one of the guys, who gave his name as Sconelius. He had a different take on the possible smoking ban. "It'll end inconspicuous marijuana smoking," he drawled. He explained that he's been "very successful" at sneaking a toke at bars, thanks to the cigarette smoke. "It masks the cloud," he explained.
At that point, his friends pulled him away. See you at the next smoking-task-force meeting, Sconelius.
Last call was announced around 1:30, and by that time, I'd had enough. The smoke had permeated everything, and my throat was a little sore, too. I felt disgusting more so than I had from any other stop on the tour.
A week later, I met the affable Doug Frost at Trezo Mare, a new, entirely nonsmoking restaurant in Briarcliff. He helped design its wine list, which he described as "wacky." Doug was also wonderfully wacky, too, in that he had agreed to smell some chick's gross clothing.
"Is this the most random assignment you've had?" I asked.
"I'm not sure. But it's definitely fun," he replied.
I handed him the Tupperware pieces in no particular order. First up was the orange sweater from Buzzard.
He took off the lid and gingerly sniffed the top of the box. "It's not real bad, to be honest with you. It just kind of has that old, musty smell."
Then, he unfurled the sweater and got the full effect. He recoiled in disgust.
"Sorry. Excuse me. Now, I'm like, ewwwww. That took a lot of cigarettes to get that smell," he said. "It's just gross."
The second item the sweater from the Clarette elicited a different response. Doug thought he smelled a stronger cigar note, and he definitely picked up on my perfume, which he described as lilac and gardenia. "I'm not able to say there's a significant cigarette note on that. I tried to adjust, but the last one was so pungent that I wonder if it's overwhelming," he said.
He moved on to the scarf from the Brick, which he described as musty, stale and dirty. "It's smoky, but not that smoky," he said.
Between garments, Doug sniffed his sleeve as a nostril-clearing device. Then he ordered a glass of Moschofilero a white Greek wine that he described as very floral and very intense to help clear the air. He explained that he was having trouble differentiating the clothes, a difficulty that he admitted surprised the crap out of him. Because the cigarette smoke was the common note and his brain had gotten used to it, all he could pick up on were the smells other than the smoke.
Before he got to his wine, he unsealed the scarf I had worn to Chez Charlie. "Oh, God, that's awful. That's fresh," he said, before tossing the box onto the table. "That one's really stinky. Someone was just blowing cigarette smoke on you the whole time."
Then he got to the sweater from Harling's. "Now, this one isn't too bad to me," he said. He smelled cigar or pipe tobacco smoke in it (but he didn't smell any pot).
Doug swirled his wine, took a sip, then asked to smell the Clarette sweater again. This time, he could smell different amounts of smoke all over it, but the perfume was its top note, he said.