I Quit

I suspect there are a multitude of reasons and excuses for being sporadic with a blog. Mine usually have to do with inspiration. I’m not always moved to write. My other monthly reason is quitting smoking. Without fail each attempt leaves me in bed struggling for consciousness. I am unsure if there is something beyond nicotine withdrawal as I am on several medications but food or friends fail to rouse me.

Typically I tire of being tired and use that as my first excuse to purchase another pack. I suddenly find myself with 25 reasons to keep the covers pulled back.

I have had a little more success this time though I am reluctant to claim victory over a long held habit. My usual scenario is a day or two in bed with a quick trip to the corner variety store for my cure to sleep. Miraculously I rise from my bed and sit in a chair on my balcony with smoke circling my head. I may not have the best perspective but this seems like progress. I have restrained myself from this small failing so far but it has been a struggle. I got out of bed today to vacuum up the dog and cat that lay scattered throughout the house but the vacuum was in danger. It conspired with its cord, corners and walls to not follow my intentions and came close to being broken further.

I use an empty kidney bean can for an ashtray outside on the balcony. Unfortunately we have had several days of rain and none of my butts are of any value. I took a decent one and held my lighter to it in an attempt to dry it out. If they weren’t so fragile I would have wrung it out first for better success. I put a few in the microwave for which I have paid dearly. Everything I have warmed in the last two days tastes like a cigarette minus the nicotine. There is no value to a cinnamon roll that tastes like tobacco.

I do have nicotine gum when I remember to chew it. I’m pretty sure I can chew and suck all the nicotine from a piece in under a minute. I swallow each piece as I am sure this is the only way to replenish what has seeped from my bones.

When I drive I have to restrain myself from pulling up to the people I can see smoking and offering two bucks for a smoke. I’m sure I could get one for free but I figure being accosted has a price.

I have been told exercise helps and as soon as the rain stops I intend to take my dog for a walk downtown with a baggie. I could care less if she poops on the sidewalk but I’ll be damned if I will pass by any juicy cigarette butts.



His name is S. He lives on another long term ward in the hospital. I stand in a sheltered corner in the dark and watch him for a moment. He is sitting at a picnic table beneath a spruce tree. It is a cold windy night, so windy it’s hard to tell which direction it is coming from. It is snowing so many of the smokers are huddled inside the doors illegally or just outside the doors. This baffles me as it is no warmer beside the building than at the required distance of 60 feet yet we all do it.

He lights up a cigarette and his face with it. He is 50 or 60 with a pleasant face and a clean short haircut. He carries with him his clear garbage bag full of all his possessions. I have never been able to make out anything of value in the bag and I’m sure if he left it anywhere it would be thrown in with the trash. He obviously doesn’t trust anyone which may be a symptom.

S is a lifer, he has been here for many years but appears fairly normal. He is a quiet person and I have seen him smile on occasion. He often only wears a T-shirt or an unbuttoned coat over a T-shirt. His belly protrudes enough to challenge the fabric. He has something resembling a goiter on his belly. It protrudes a good 7 inches in all directions. I am drawn to it like a train wreck, I can see enough that I want to see more.

S is one of the psychiatric poor. I remember sitting with him this summer as he smoked cigarettes rolled with newspaper. In jail rolling paper was at a premium so we often used the waxy paper that the rolls of toilet paper came in or pages torn from a Bible. If we were out of tobacco which was usually the case some of the guys would smoke dried orange peels which had a smell of their own. At times the stringy pulp from bananas would be dried and tried. I’m not sure why you would smoke either of these as there was no nicotine but you can’t underestimate the pleasure of a smoke.