Friday, March 26, 2010

Smoke and Mirrors

It will be two months next Wednesday since I gave up smoking. It hasn’t been easy, but then it hasn’t been as hard as I expected either. Just different.
It has mostly been a process of relearning how to exist in social situations without a cigarette in hand. Relearning? Actually, in most cases, learning – I was smoking long before I ever started clubbing or swanning around art festivals or lurking in bars and its the only way I know to be in these places. And so with each type of event or place of smoking, I have to readjust my mindset before I go. I find myself almost subconsciously imagining walking into the convenience store, finding the smokers’ lounge, lighting up, making small-talk with all the other stinky tar-babies. Not because I am hanging for a cigarette, usually, more because it is just habit, of course, its what my brain now associates with going out on the town, with drinking beer, with particular friends.

Every time I revisit these circumstances for the first time sans cigarette, I have to recognise what is happening and prepare myself for it. Yes, you will spend all of your time downstairs at Phoenix, only emerging if you really need fresh air or an ATM or chewing gum. No, you will not be able to escape the boredom of Wednesday night at the Sly by popping out to smoke at 15 minute intervals. Yes, there are certain people you will have to specifically seek out if you want to speak to them, instead of waiting to catch them up outside whilst you are both puffing away. Yes, you will have to find something else to do with your hands when someone cute is flirting with you. No, you don’t have a light.

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