I am about to try to quit smoking, yet again, and I was thinking about the things I will miss.
First, since in Canada I have to smoke outside everywhere I go, I get to check out the weather first hand. A few months ago I could sit outside in my nightie and robe, but these days I zip up my down coat over my sweater and flannel vest, put on my hat, turn up the fur lined hood, and put on my gloves in order to see whether it is -1C or -10C. I can see the few cars that drive through this neighbourhood and these days see the kids sledding down the slight hill in the park across the street.
Also since I have to go outside, I get more fresh air. As I write, it is full, cold winter and I find the air inside my flat is stuffy, tainted with exhaust from the furnace. When I go outside to smoke I always take deep smokeless breaths, partly to clear out the smoke and partly to take in the clean air. Luckily in this small town, the air is quite clean and since there are few smokers, it stays that way.
If I am at a social event, I get to meet other smokers. We are all complicit in our addiction to a socially unacceptable substance. If we were smoking pot, we would be more likely to be accepted. In the meantime, we stand outside and get to know the other outlaws.
I have always been a rebellious spirit, so smoking is one of the ways I express that. I came late to smoking– I was in my early 30s not my teens. In fact, I would say that marijuana was the gateway drug for tobacco, since I liked to smoke joints. I couldn’t chain smoke those, so I started smoking cigarettes. At that time I smoked a pack a month
When I travel I blend in with the locals. I didn’t start to smoke seriously until I moved to Japan. There my housemate smoked and in fact just about everybody smoked. After working hours you could see businessmen hurrying along the street, cigarette in mouth or hand. And of course, there is the expression ‘to smoke like a Turk’, and I was right in there with them. Turkey adopted the no smoking inside law a few years ago, but it was largely ignored, including in my cafe. It was so easy to smoke, that I often smoked more than a pack a day. Just like a Turk.
I have been smoking cigarettes bought from the First Nations reservation near my sister’s. I will miss supporting them, but I have to say I get a chuckle from the fact that they cater to whitey’s bad addictions, as they also have a big casino nearby. Getting back at the oppressors. I saw the same thing in Japan, where the oppressed Koreans ran the love hotels and pachinko (gambling) parlours.
Going out for a cigarette is a way to take a break. I can sit outside for fresh air on its own, but I have more of a reason with a cigarette. Also, if I am bored I can go out for a cig to get away from whatever is boring me.
Smokers often collect interesting lighters. Actually, mine are not so interesting now, but I do have one more Turkey lighter which I guess will be the last one. And having lighters means that if one needs to light a candle or a fire, people can call on smokers.
Smoker’s cough is a good way to clear the lungs. Whatever will I do without it?
These are just a few of the benefits of smoking. When I quit tobacco, I will have to take up something else. Washington, Colorado, Oregon here I come!