Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Last Smoke

It had been a very long time since I last smoked a cigarette. Over a decade in fact. I was never much of a huge smoker--a half a pack of day at my worst--but I loved it. I loved the ritual. The smell of the tobacco just before the flame torches it. I loved how the hot smoke would mix in my mouth on cold days. I loved how it afforded me a small break from the world. But I also knew that it was not good for me and that I needed to stop. So not more than a year out of college, I found myself sitting across the table from a cute girl, on a blind date orchestrated by my sister, talking about smoking. Or rather, my intent to someday quit smoking.

"Why don’t you quit right now?" she asked.

Because I was more interested in trying to impress a girl that I wanted to sleep with than anything else, I slid my pack of cigarettes across the table. And that was it. I never did get the girl into my bed, but I never went back to smoking either.

After that twitchy first smoke-free month was behind me, I actually found it pretty easy to quit. My willpower was strong. It also helped that California had just banned smoking in bars, so a layer of temptation had been removed in a stroke of perfect timing.

While I didn't crave it all of the time, every once in a while I would miss smoking. Sometimes I would walk past somebody smoking and I would get a hit of tobacco that just smelled good to me.

It had been a very long time since I'd even thought of smoking a cigarette when I found myself craving one while I was alone on a road trip. There was some song lyric about smoking and it hit me. I found myself pulling into a gas station and before I really knew what I was doing, I had bought a pack. I automatically tapped the pack, unwrapped the cellophane and tapped out a cigarette, just like I used to. The whole thing felt weird that it was so familiar.

The cigarette felt heavier than I remembered. Thicker. I put one end in my mouth and held the flame to the other. I listened for the crackle of the paper and tobacco catching, inhaled, and immediately fell into a massive choking fit While the actions of lighting a cigarette might have felt familiar, my body was not used to the toxic smoke and was not happy. I tried to take another drag, but my lungs were rejecting everything about it. This was not the pleasurable experience I once had. This was torture.

I crushed out the cigarette and threw the rest of the pack away. I didn't like the coughing. I didn't like the smoke. I didn't like anything about the cigarette. As much as I used to love smoking, it was clear at that moment as it had been when I first quit that I am no longer a smoker. Sometimes the body is smarter than the mind and my body knows that my smoking days are very much behind me.


Andrea said...

Good for you. Smoking is bad bad bad...that said I used to be a social smoker when I went to parties in college. I'm happy those days are behind me though!

Surfer Jay said...

Yep, when i smoke one now it feels the same way. Oddly I can still smoke mymonthly cigar, stronger but not harsh tasting like cigs.

Mom said...

I was a social smoker, but haven't had one in years. Every now and then I crave one. But...haven't.

Stay strong!

Your escalator operator said...

Good post! Which song was it?

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Andrea...Yeah, I'm happy those days are behind me too.

Jay...I do love a cigar now and again.

Mom...Oh no problem staying strong. Even before this incident, I hadn't had urges to smoke.

YEO..You know I don't recall.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Sometimes you have to trust your body to know what is best for you.

Good for you.

Didactic Pirate said...

The first paragraph of this post made me want to start smoking again. Luckily, the rest of it reminded me why I don't do it any more. Well done.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

James...and sometimes the body craves bacon and fried food. Go fig.

Pirate...Yeah, vices are kind of like that, huh?

Vancetastic said...

Darn it, I thought I might have someone who would share a celebratory post-baby smoke with me.

I still do indulge from time to time, but with the birth of the child, those times will probably come to be a good year apart, as opposed to just a couple months. The other thing about vices -- if you can manage it -- is that it's fun to keep them around for special occasions, as long as special occasions don't start to include "getting up in the morning" and "driving somewhere."

SciFi Dad said...

Yeah, I know exactly how you feel, except that I KNOW if I ever took another drag, I'd be a smoker again.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Vance...You'll have to keep looking. Sorry.

SciFi...For a little while after I quit, I thought I'd be that way. Thankfully, no.