20 March 2007

Je manque des cigarettes.

I feel pretty comfortable about it now. I thought it was bad luck to talk about it before. I mean, what with all the bad karma I have built up, I feel like it’s foolish to tempt fate.

I quit smoking five months ago. I think I can safely say I don’t smoke. I’m a non-smoker. Cigarette? No thanks. Very kind, but I quit. It’s taken some time to get used to saying that.

I *meant* to quit smoking like six years ago. I just sort of never got around to it. It’s hard. Long ago I stopped really liking cigarettes. I had been cutting down this year since getting back to the States, where they are not handed out on street corners as they are in Asia. They were just sort of this thing that I did. The whole reason I was able to quit is because you know when you go out late on a Saturday morning and you sit down on the stoop for a cigarette, and sometimes it is the best thing in the world? But sometimes, it makes you feel really tired, your eyes glaze over and your brain buzzes like a black and white TV warming up, and everything goes a bit hazy and you lose focus. You feel like total crap and you look at that paper wrapped tube with smoke flitting off the lit end, filter end a little bit damp, and that brown spot marking the tar’s skid marks as it rushes into your lungs. That’s when you flick it into the gutter and go back inside and try to not think about what tar looks like when it is streaking your lungs.

I got tired of having that moment.

It was hard in the beginning. It got easier, much to my self-indulgent surprise. I mean really, where is all the angst? I just wanted a cigarette a lot and then didn’t get to have one, which sucked. I thought I was going to have to sweat buckets and watch babies crawl across the ceiling.

DC’s smoking ban totally helped. Now, I don’t really want a smoke very often. But I miss cigarettes. They are the best props in the entire world. That familiar box, pulling one out and lighting it, having something to do with my hands, having an excuse to cut all conversations short, a way to ride out uneasy pauses, a reason to go out side, something to do at the bar when waiting for people that is infinitely less wanky than diddling with a mobile phone. I miss them for their theatrical value, which, I guess, makes me more of a poseur than I would have ever imagined possible.