Sometimes my thoughts head off on a strange tangent.
Take for example the item today from the UK about Network Rail banning e-cigarettes in New Street Station.
OK, I had the usual thoughts about Nannyism, petty rules and bigoted Puritans, but my thoughts went a little beyond that.
Basically, by banning vaping they are implicitly claiming ownership of the air. Thou shalt not pollute our air with your vapour. Now technically you can argue that the air within a building belongs to the building, as to all intents and purposes the air is contained within that building. But the same cannot be applied to stations, playgrounds or sports stadia, as the air is in constant motion, in and out of the area without giving anyone any time to lay claim to it. Or are all British railway stations now fully enclosed with big doors that open whenever a train arrives or departs?
Now Network Rail have a perfect right to stop me vandalising their seats or defacing their walls, because the seats and walls are their property. Equally they have a right to complain if I piss on the platform as they presumably would then have to wash the piss off [though they probably wouldn’t]. However, by smoking or vaping I am not affecting any of their property, unless they are laying a de facto claim to the air?
Suppose I am walking down the road, puffing on my pipe [or vaping – little difference to the argument] and I decide to enter a pub, shop or hotel. Once I enter into the building, I am now using their air as I have to enter through a doorway, and under the law they have a right to ask me to stop. Suppose however I decide to catch a train. I have to enter the station building [and therefore use their air] where they will bitch about my smoke [or vapour]. However I then leave the station building and step onto the platform where I am back in the open air again, and no one can lay a claim to that.
Even the grammar gives a hint here. You go into a building but theoretically you can't go into a playground, sports stadium or station platform, unless you intend to burrow down into the ground. You go onto those places which is slightly different – they are not enclosed.
Then you get strange situations. Suppose there is an open air exit gate from the platform. Inside that gate they claim the air is theirs but take one step through the gate and the air is no longer theirs. Yet if I light up just outside the gate and the breeze blows the smoke back over the wall, my air has become their air and there is fuck all they can do about the smoke. Equally if I light up just inside the gate [with a strong breeze blowing] they can order me about even though they are going to lose my smoke within a fraction of a second as it blows across the fence.
As I said….
Just a strange tangential thought…….