Parents and Smoking and Things


So I guess my parents know I smoke now. I mean, it’s not like I was… okay, yes, I was actively trying to hide it from them. It just didn’t exactly feel like it because it’s not like it’s been challenging. I don’t see them, I don’t speak to them. So it’s not like I’m a teenager sneaking around about it. But yeah, when I went to the memorial service a few weeks ago, I made it a point not to smoke until we were well away from there. In large part because of my parents, somewhat because of the rest of my family too. As far as I know we don’t have any smokers.

Realistically it’s not a thing I’m proud of. I started smoking at 28 years old, shortly before I turned 29 because apparently it seemed like a super awesome idea. No, honestly I don’t really understand why myself. I lived with smokers for like five or six years before that and I was never the slightest bit tempted to take it up. Then I didn’t live with them anymore and I would find myself thinking about it periodically and then I bummed one off my friend (who, by the way, was merciful and did not give me grief even though I totally  deserved it after all the grief I gave her when she started) and then I bought a pack and here we are over a year later. I don’t… I mean, you know. It’s gross. I don’t like the smell, I don’t like that my clothes smell like it and my coat smells like it. I don’t really like the taste. I smoke menthol lights, so it’s about as light as a cigarette can be but I still don’t like it. I totally cannot afford it because it is a stupidly expensive vice. And yet I do really like the social rhythms of smoking. I like how when I’m super stressed and freaking out it gives me a way to literally step outside and take some deep breaths. The fact that the breaths are full of poison smoke is apparently irrelevant. And of course the truth is that at this point I’m addicted to it.

As of this year I have worked on keeping myself to three cigarettes per day. I am typically successful at this unless I have a very hard day or go see my friend who is a much heavier smoker than I am. I love smoking with people so that’s a killer for me. Some days I even only smoke two and I have been trying to push myself to go down to two a day. In an ideal world I would like to only smoke socially, if at all. However, I’ve never actually quit a vice before and I’m not totally confident in my ability to do so. I’m also super ambivalent about how much I want to do so, however much I dislike the things about it I dislike. Still. I should stop.

I will say that finding out my parents know now (my mother saw my little bottle of cigarette butts out front last time she came over to see my brother, she told my dad, my dad asked my brother, my brother of course didn’t lie and I wouldn’t expect him to… yeah, whole thing) did not have any real impact on me and that was nice. I mean, you know. I’m sure they’re disappointed, maybe they’re adding it to their internal list of proof I’ve gone bad or whatever. I am almost positive they have one of those. But really… what difference does it make? Frankly I can think of five things about my life now without even trying that would upset them far more than cigarettes. And no matter what I do, it’s not like they’re going to approve anyway, that’s a large part of why we’re not talking to begin with. Still, it’s nice to not feel that sense of panic I know I would have felt once. I used to stand outside of my house smoking and wonder what I would do if one of them drove up, glance at cars I didn’t recognize right off. It just doesn’t matter like it used to and I think that’s probably a good sign. I hope so anyway.

And seriously, I should really quit.



5 thoughts on “Parents and Smoking and Things

  1. you gotta quuuuuuuiiiiittttt. I wanna come visit you again, and I have a slight issue with my asthma and smoke on people’s clothes (although 3 a day I can’t see it being a problem, but still…) I am actually allergic to one of my coworkers. That being said I don’t like her all that much, so maybe that’s part of it.

    Further, I think it’s interesting that you use the smoking as a get away. I say this because of the number of times I’ve gone out to “smoke”, especially when I worked at the shelter, and didn’t smoke. So I totally get needing that break. I still do it sometimes, go out with the smokers and stand the way the wind isn’t blowing.

  2. Well, and that’s part of the thing of course is that I used to do that all the time when I didn’t smoke. I got so used to the rhythm of living with smokers and I liked that. Adding the actual cigarettes in seemed not as unnatural as I would have thought. Sigh. But yes, I know I have to quit. Blah……

  3. Quitting is so hard! Haha. I smoke a lot more than you but yeah. I like a lot of the same things about it, although I hate that … you know, my clothes and house and hair smell awful and it’s expensive and oh yeah the whole IT KILLS YOU thing. But I love just having that ritual. It’s very grounding. I know you don’t go out to bars and stuff a lot, but even on a job or with new people it provides this instant, like, camaraderie. There’s just nothing else quite like it so I guess I have to just learn to live without that (at some point).

  4. No and the camaraderie is great! I mean, I love that. It hasn’t happened all the time because yeah, I don’t go to bars or whatever super frequently but when I have occasionally or even just at school or whatever, it is this sort of singular thing to just be able to go out and smoke with people and chat.
    Which I do find so interesting because I assume that’s… I mean, I guess I don’t know but I feel like that must be relatively recent in smoking culture or whatever. Because I feel like that can’t have been as true when everyone smoked everywhere and probably became more true when smoking became a less socially acceptable thing and you had to walk out to the isolated point or whatever to do it? I don’t know, it sort of fascinates me. But yes, I will be sad to do without that at some point. Probably in the near future. Sigh.

    • I definitely did notice that the first time I moved out of Texas. In Texas, I could/can just sit at the table in the restaurant with my friends and just, you know, sit there forever and not talk to anyone else (although we’d probably end up talking to someone else because small town – someone to say hello to is probably in the same restaurant, but that’s not the same). I probably have the smoking gazebo in the quad to thank for any friendships I made in college, and it’s helped me like ~mingle in a lot of other situations. Workplace/school bonding, actually hanging out with people I didn’t come with/already know at parties, you know, whatever.

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