I wanted to write a post, for myself really, about the reasons why I want to quit smoking again. Yes, shamefully, I am still at it. Shamefully.

I have started the second A.lan C.arr book (word of mouth must have spread it to you at some point, yes?) and hopefully his bad writing and cheesy metaphors will work their mysterious magic, the way they did when I quit before.

I give you: Reasons Why I Hate Smoking.

1. I hate the feeling of slavery that you get when you’re a smoker. I hate, for example, that I “have” to race outside at lunchtime, and duck around the corner as if I am one of the students. I hate that I look around me with paranoia, and come back inside praying that I don’t encounter anyone I know before  can get to the bathroom to freshen up. The fact that I lower myself to this is sheer embarrassment.

2. I hate the way it makes me feel, physically. Since starting again, I have really noticed the difference in my energy level. I had no idea back in the days of pre-quit, that it made such a difference – I honestly thought I was just one of those people who isn’t very vital, like the frail sister with consumption in Little Women or something. I actually thought that lethargy was my temperament.

3. I hate the fact that if I don’t stop, BB will most likely have to watch his mother die a slow, painful, and worst of all – self-inflicted death.

4. I don’t want to die a slow, painful and self-inflicted death.

5. It makes me stink, something I am uber-conscious of when I lean down to help a student with their work. Small, but I’m constantly aware of it.

That’s the top five. There is, of course, many other powerful reasons to stop. Then why haven’t I? That’s the question, really, isn’t it?

I think that in some part of my brain, I associate smoking with youth. With the immortality of youth – with Summer days and house parties and late night coffees with friends. I associate it with driving my first car along the freeway, into the city, or cold mornings at the bus stop. Drinking tap beer, performing my poetry, wearing Doc Marten boots with retro print, babydoll-style dresses.

I remember being fifteen and sitting in a small town cemetary with my best friend, eating fish and chips and singing Simon and Garfunkel’s Homeward Bound as we smoked our gold-tipped, skinny cigarettes.

It’s hard to let go of that in some ways. Back then, you always intend to quit later, before it becomes a problem.

Problem is: It is later.

In reality, cigarettes were never any of those things. Or maybe they were, but it was only for a moment. In reality, they were only ever what they were – chopped up bits of leaf wrapped in paper. The memories would have existed with or without the smoking; it wasn’t cigarettes that made those moments special. The reality is that smoking was just as it is now —

 A big fat five minutes of nothing in particular.


10 Responses to “Eulogy”

  1. sky girl Says:

    Go Meg! You can do it.

    I just had a conversation with Frenchie this morning. A Canadian Rock Star (Jeff Healey) just died yesterday of cancer and left behind 2 little kids. He was saying how it was so awful.

    I couldn’t help but say that Jeff Healey died tragically of cancer and Frenchie smokes cancer willingly every day. Pleeeeeeease quit so you can see your daughter grow up.

    I hope he heard me. 😦

  2. Becky Says:

    Quitting is hard, but smoking is harder.

    (like you, I have fallen back onto the smoking wagon)

  3. Summer Says:

    I’ve seen how hard quitting smoking is, but I think you’ve got some of the most important aspects of quitting which is the motivation to stop and an awareness of why you smoke.

    It might not be a walk in the park, but you can do it!

  4. Melina Says:

    we should do it together. How sick is it that I’m praying to be pregnant so I can quit??

  5. Bea Says:

    Yeah, that whiff of cigarette smoke always takes me back to those days. Luckily for me, I never did get the hang of being a smoker, but I find it strangely comforting to hang around friends when they smoke.

    Like you said, however – now *is* later. And frankly, in many ways, now is also better.


  6. Sam Says:

    This is why I have made it almost three years without smoking:

    I have plenty of horrific death-by-smoking stories. I also plan to live to a ripe old age, get diagnosed with a terminal illness and then allow myself to smoke for the last few months of my life. That’s what I tell myself when forever seems too long to wait for a cigarette.

  7. blogapotamus Says:

    That’s the trouble with those of us who are prone to intense bouts of nostalgia; it’s hard to remember, across the gulf of time, what it was that made the past so special and it’s easy to latch onto the wrong things.

    Me personally, it’s a place. I want to be there so badly sometimes my whole body hurts. I’m pretty sure, however, if I moved there now, I’d wonder what the hell I wanted to go back for. It was the people that made the place, the time in my life that made it. There is nothing particularly magical about a small town in the middle of Indiana, but in the rosy picture in my head, it’s like the kingdom of heaven on earth.

  8. Bugsy Says:

    I have never been a smoker so I can’t really help you all that much in that department but it struck me as I was reading your list, that when you do give up, it would be a great list to reread regularly to remind you why you gave up.

    Good luck hun – I am told it is not easy but that it is very rewarding in the long run giving up. Just wish my husband had the urge to write something like this and try giving up himself but he is still at the “no i don’t want to give up because I enjoy this so much and all those people who say it causes cancer are all deluding themselves because there are so many other reasons for cancer (denial mode)” mode.

    you can do it – we believe in you. BB believes in you too.

  9. Anita Says:

    I feel your pain Meg. I truly, truly do. I have a list in my head of all the reasons to quit again but just haven’t gotten up the power to do it. If I could go back in time I would tell my 18 year old self to never pick up that first smoke.

  10. marie baguette Says:

    Go Meg, you can do it! I quit smoking and for years I missed all the gestures associated with it. Now I am a former smoker, the kind who has developed serious allergy to cigarette smoke. What worked for me was to quit smoking in the winter (smoking out in the blizzard = no fun), date anti-smokers and drink water whenever I felt the urge to smoke (instead of eating comfort food). Other arguments against smoking: I am sure you feed your baby organic food but what about all those ugly chemicals that hang around you (and the baby) after smoking? Female smokers have those horrible vertical lip lines and bad skin. Yikes! Cigarettes are expensive (think of everything you could save). You are poisoning your body and the Earth (it takes something like hundreds of years for butts to decompose). Good luck!

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