I remember the first cigarette I lit: I was in the backyard of my buddy Dan–my “best friend” during my first two years of high school. His place was in Hatboro, and for whatever reason, my first girlfriend and I were hanging out with him for the evening. They couldn’t stand each other, but she was attached to me. Plus his single mother was usually at work or away from home, so it was naturally a haven for the local rejects.
I don’t remember any particular high of that first cigarette, but I vaguely recall getting testy for no obvious reason with my girlfriend. The rest of the evening was a mix of apologies for whatever words I said and paranoia over my mother smelling smoke on us. Two years later, I was asking my coworkers to buy me cloves due to the praise I’d heard from my goth friends, only to throw away the packs after a few weeks of disuse. A year later and I was almost a pack a day smoker of Benson & Hedges, the preferred brand of my manager at Suncoast (Jess Ortiz, the basis of Iris in Coincidence).
I learned that stress = needing a smoke in retail before college. Alone at the university, I picked up that cigarettes were a great way of being social. Asking for a light is still my highest rated pickup line. But sometime during the end of my college career was my only attempt at quitting. I’m very procedural in my daily habits, so it made sense to eliminate the procedures. Don’t smoke in the car. Don’t smoke after meals. And so on and so on until I was down to two cigarettes a day. This was all due to my poor finances at the time, but I soon found a job, which happened to be in an office of chain-smokers. My pack-a-day habit quickly regained its ground. Until now.
My father-in-law, a two pack-a-day smoker, has gone without a cigarette for two weeks thanks to reading Allen Carr’s smoking cessation book. Mrs. Phlaux found the PDF version of the book and sent it to me this afternoon. With a few pages under my belt thus far I find it…repetitive. I keep thinking about how, if this was a piece of fiction, the typical reader would put it down due to boredom and a writer would dismiss it for poor word choice. But since it has an overlying objective, I hold on to my Kindle and continue.
I’m hoping this may help me quit, if only due to the financial difficulties of maintaining a 2-pack-a-day household. That’s well over $4k for those who don’t feel like doing math. The last time I tried quitting, I grew manic with a need to fill my time. So maybe it’ll inspire a flood of writing. Or at least a completed outline for Project: Temperance. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.
“It’s always darker at the end of every answer” – The Birthday Massacre’s “Midnight”