Saturday, May 28, 2005

Tell the Truth

You’ve begun smoking again after 11 years

It started a few weeks ago when your friend E. brought that pack to the three-day silent meditation retreat in the country and the two of you made a little ritual of sitting in the tall grass in the late afternoons and after dinner having your silent smokes

Then that friend, the married singer came over, and she was smoking too. You were surprised at first, her being a singer and all, but when she told you that her first love was back in town, someone she always felt she should have been with, you understood the smoking and out of an affinity for confusion you rolled yourself one and smoked it with her in the yard

You called her a week later to ask which brand was she was smoking

Then last week you pulled up in front of that divey liquor store off of Telegraph and bought yourself a pack of Bali Shag. The first one got you high.

It takes about 6 cigarettes to pass from the this-is-disgusting phase of relapsed smoking and into the shit-I-need-a-smoke phase, at which point you’ve become seduced by the deep, measured breathing and the paced inhalations that are utterly calming

There’s something almost spiritual about smoking

After a couple of days you dump the bag of loose tobacco in the trashcan in your office. You think about wetting it down just in case you have an urge to retrieve it but you don’t

A few days later you pull the stale, loose tobacco out of the bottom of the trashcan and you begin rolling it, smoking it again

You remember the days when you were so hard up you searched for butts in trash bins and ashtrays so you could re-roll them into new cigarettes

You sneak the smokes out to the porch when nobody is home or you think the kids are asleep

Sometimes when you really need one bad you suggest to your children that they watch TV and then you go out to the porch to smoke because you’ve essentially just anesthetized them. The house could burn down and they’d never know. The last thing they’re going to do is look out into the yard and see mom smoking. I'm just a ghost

You don’t worry too much about this. You’re not a real smoker anyway. It’s just that life has been a little unwieldy in the last few months and you’ve come to need this one small thing. That’s all. Besides, after this pack is emptied you’ll be done with it



Done with it

1 comment:

Dale said...

I wandered in here by a circuitous route which I don't know if I could reconstruct -- Maya Stein was the first stop, maybe Caribou Raisin was involved?

But anyway

There is something spiritual about smoking, & especially about smoking quietly with people in a quiet place, but


You can just turn the whole thing inside out and make the not-smoking the spiritual thing. Let the wanting come, let it go. All that.

I don't think you've really started smoking again though. Not if you can see it this clearly :-)

Thank you for this wonderful blog!