Saturday, January 19, 2008

"For those who enjoy smoking..."

I heard an ad on the radio tonight. I can't remember what it was for, but I do remember hearing the phrase "For those who enjoy smoking..." and sort of laughing to myself.

As an ex-smoker, it brought back some funny and sometimes ridiculous memories of the insanity that IS being a smoker. Even more insane is being a closet smoker, where you have some people you hide it from and others you share smokes with. I'd also like to point out here that I am a grown ass woman, and yet typing up this blog entry makes my neck sweat. Thank god my mom isn't computer savvy enough to find my online blog...or so I hope.

Anyhow, back to the phrase "For those who enjoy smoking...". It reminded me of the things I used to say to justify or explaing my icky habit, one of which happened to be "I enjoy smoking." And I guess on a certain level I did enjoy it. It gave me a buzz, it soothed me, it kept my hands busy and my mind quiet. It also gave me an instant connection to others in awkward social situations. Stuck in jury duty with 11 other strangers? Find the guy rushing out on every 5 minute break, lighter in hand, and make an automatic friend. Even if you have nothing else in common, you can always bond over your shared annoyance at other people and their disdain for smokers. "In the 70s," lighter man will lament, "you could smoke anywhere. Why I remember smoking in planes! In school! In the hospital while my wife gave birth!". "Yeah," you'll reply with faux-wistfullness, "that must have been awesome. And now here we are forced outside in the heat!". Yup...deep connections and lasting friendships were built for sure.

I also used to say "I don't have an addictive personality; I could quit anytime." This was usually followed by an "I just enjoy smoking." But, really, who was I kidding? Last I heard, it's not one's peresonality that makes smoking addictive. It's a little something called nicotine.

Going back to the comment about hoping my mom won't read this, there's the "I just spray Febreeze on myself and in my car, and no one knows I smoke!" Sure, except for the lighters everywhere (telltale sign of a smoker is more lighters than people in the home. The frequent need to leave the group. The way you look uncomfortable when characters on TV or in movies are smoking and you're watching it with your mom. The lines around the mouth. The bad breath. The constant throat clearing. And...oh yeah...the smell of Febreeze and cigarette smoke.

And, last but not least, "I'll quit when I have kids." Fortunately this one is true. I haven't smoked in a looong time, and have no plans of going back. I love being able to smell things. My skin looks better. I feel better. I don't have to sneak around and be secretive. My clothes and hair don't smell. But, more than anything else, I have a husband and kid I adore, and they are reason enough to stay away. After all, who needs cigarettes when you've got this?:


Queen of Goo said...

I haven't smoked since 2000 (ok, a couple times in bars)... I still miss that after-dinner cigarette sometimes! I DONT miss wondering if other's could smell the smoke in my hair (they could!), get short of breath on cold mornings, planning around events and places where I couldn't smoke, etc.

West Stand Upper said...

Hey great post - I enjoyed it very much; I like your writing style.

I am a few weeks quit now. I had googled 'I enjoy smoking', looking for a rationalisation to give me a pass back to the smokes. And then I read your post and went and got a drink of water instead!

I have many smoking related posts on my blog - they chart the nightmare battle I've had wiht the damn things!


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