I need a vice. Having been dosed up with double antibiotics, I can’t drink for a week. This wouldn’t usually prove insurmountable, as smoking tends to keep me going, however I’m in the midst of the infamous quitting. It seems as though my body relies on some infernal vice to forcefully relax. After a hard day at work, I can’t grab a glass of Merlot and watch the waves break, nor can I inhale burning ash and watch the smoke pollute the sky. I have tried a stream of curses at my radio and random highway drivers (my other vice), but this holds no release. I am now stuck.
I’m not one of those smokers who suffers from physical addiction – I don’t get raging headaches that leave me blinded or bed-ridden, I don’t subconsciously fake emphysema and bark coughs reminiscent of backfiring Harleys, nor do I fly off the handle at less frequent intervals than usual. I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones who can go hours, weeks, even months without smoking and not miss it – as long as the consequences of me smoking outweigh the intermittent bliss it brings. Should it not, however, my mind turns against me like a ring-side boxing coach, urging me on to grab the next coffin nail. It starts as I wearily reverse out the gates at work: I can’t drink. What will I do when I get home? I’ll smoke…I can’t smoke!! How will I relax? What am I supposed to do, sit on the porch and stare at a black wall of nothing? Do I do yoga (no…my big toe is still cramping, better not to). My mind then starts to realise – I don’t need to smoke, I want to. Surely this is reason enough to smoke? If I am strong enough to go a day without smoking, I must be able to reward myself with a nicotine refill?
The realisation that I’m on my way to smoking sparks a panic in me – I’m giving in! – thrusting thoughts of critical non-smokers into my head: Smoking looks dis-gust-ing! A smoker’s breath always smells! There’s nothing worse than the stench of stale smoke….on and on it goes until my head screams “Screw ‘em! Those non-smokers don’t have the right to tell me what to do! I am independent. I am a woman. I am strong!”
And so I smoke.
“As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain from smoking when awake.” Mark Twain
*Apparently a phrase of Chinese origin, meaning to be furious. I just like belching.