Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Family of Smokers

For the first time in history, sex is more dangerous than the cigarette afterward. Jay Leno

Nicotine patches are great. Stick one over each eye and you can't find your cigarettes. Unknown

Tobacco and alcohol, delicious fathers of abiding friendships and fertile reveries. Luis Buñuel

Smoking with bro on graduation day a hundred years ago
I gave up smoking on 9th September 2008. I chose that day and month so that I would remember it no matter what country I was in. For although I've gotten used to the American date format of "month day", sometimes I revert to the more sensible Australian-Euro "day, month".

My mother smoked, my father smoked, my brother smokes. And until 9/9/08 I thought I'd never stop. I smoked more than anyone I I've ever known, except perhaps my father. I'd wake in the night craving a cigarette. My mother claimed I smoked even when I was gardening, but she was wrong there; I gardened while I smoked.

Smoking was the primary thing. Other activities somehow fitted in around it.

There are hardly any photos of me as an adult without a cigarette in my hand.

Here I am on my 37th birthday. Smoking.

How did I give it up and why? I THINK I gave it up because I wanted my freedom. The freedom from having to remember to take plenty of cigarettes wherever I went, from having to cater for the smoking habit in every aspect of my life. From having to wash my hair daily, from having smoke-stained clothes, walls, mirrors, teeth.

Until about five years ago I never even contemplated kicking the habit. And then in 2006 I think it was, at Auckland airport on a one hour stop-over, instead of wandering around the shops and having a coffee, I dutifully joined the other smokers in the smokers room. I had an epiphany. I didn't HAVE to smoke. And so the thought germinated and grew until in August 2008 when I decided to take the plunge.

For the first and only time in my life, I gave up smoking.

I was surprised. It wasn't so hard. A few days of cravings and then ...


However I still do miss my cigarettes now and then. Every month or so, I'll remember how nice it was, having a cigarette with coffee after a meal. There's nothing like it. I don't kid myself.

But I have my memories ...

And shall have to be content with those.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I was thirty-five and things were not good. Following my first failed treadmill exam, my heart doctor told me to quit. I just quit. No more thoughts, just turkeyed. Cold, after 22 years. Why did I ever smoke? Damn stuff always got in my eyes; couldn't do it where I drove, made out or sat in the cockpit. Guess I thought it looked cool.
Did a few doobies later after turkeyday, but the damn things made my stupid heart go pittypat. Another fun thing down the tubes.
Guess I don't have a compulsive or addictive personality as most of my interesting friends do. But I'm still boringly alive!

BTW Kate, you have a great eye with your New York camera. Love the pix.

Grahame said...

Those airport smokers' rooms must have caused quite a few people to quit over the years. Some of them look like giant fish tanks, just glass walls on 3 sides and the exhibits inside puffing away. There's nothing else to do in there. I imagine you could get your fix without even lighting up, either, judging by the visibility.

Kate said...

Agreed. Certainly that's true in LA. But in Auckland the smokers room is outside with the clear sky above! A nice touch!

Jaded NYer said...

Do you smoke after sex? Ever try lubricant?

har har har.

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