June 22, 2018
It’s late, 1:30 in the morning, and for some reason, I couldn’t get right to sleep when I went to bed at midnight. I decided to get up and smoke a lot of weed to knock me out so I could get to sleep. But I guess I didn’t smoke enough because instead of passing out I’m getting ideas. Like what I need to do to continue to feel motivated enough to go through the pain of quitting smoking cigarettes. I need to do a little of what Jane does, and limit the number of cigarettes I smoke to only those that give me a great deal of pleasure, enough to be worth all the misery it causes me each and every time I light up and lots of time between smokes too, when I’m coughing up shit or out of breath or shaming myself, or disgusted by the sight, smell, and taste of cigarette smoke, ashes, and butts. Basically, the pleasure I get is in fidgeting with the cigarette, sucking on it, flicking the ashes, and enjoying the time I take out of my life when I’m alone to just smoke it, doing little if anything else while smoking. It’s a time killer and for some reason, while I’m in Greece, I felt the need for an implement to help me kill time. I guess I have a lot more time on my hands in Greece than I’d had in Israel and in the U.S. Or I need help to kill time and before I was perfectly capable of killing time on my own. In any case, smoking no longer gives me enough pleasure to outweigh its misery. I don’t really have much concern about health risks. I figure a smoker who starts at my age can probably outlive the health risks, but maybe that’s erroneous thinking. Perhaps the aged body is more fragile, less resilient than the younger body and hence more likely to quickly register the toxic effects of ingesting tobacco and other chemical additives, vapors, smoke, tar, all that bad stuff.
So the idea is to limit my cigarettes to only those that are truly pleasurable. The ones with no feelings of sickness, neither physical nor emotional. If, in a couple of weeks, I’m still smoking too much, which would be more than 5 a day, I would limit myself to only the top 5. I mean, the point is, I don’t think there’s even one cigarette that’s really enjoyable for me, that doesn’t taste or smell absolutely disgusting and look disgusting when it’s been smoked—the ashes and butts. I could easily remind myself of how disgusted I feel by carrying around a plastic bag of wet butts and ashes. That’s what Barbara did when she was ready to quit smoking. And I remember someone else, Vicky, told me about keeping a jar of wet butts in the kitchen, and taking a sniff whenever her resolve threatened to falter. I tried that for a while, but never unscrewed the lid to smell the stench, so I wonder if I’d unscrew this time around in order to stiffen my fortitude. I’ll probably have to do both the bag and the jar. As well as my old standby, prayer.
The big question is, should I turn over this new leaf right now, tonight, or wait until I’ve had my night’s sleep and the sun is up on a new day. I’ve been struggling all through the writing of this piece to not quit writing and get up and go out on the verandah (to where I’ve banished my smoking self ) and smoke a cigarette, which I could easily do within the parameters of the program I’ve set up if I truly anticipated that this smoking a cigarette would, in fact, be an experience of pleasure for me. I know, however, that whatever pleasure I get from the physical sensations of fidgeting, playing with the ash and taking long, deep sucks on the cancer stick pales when compared to the shame, fear, and sensory disgust I will experience. So I might as well quit tonight. And just go to bed, which is how this whole thing started in the first place. If I was asleep, I wouldn’t have to deal with the monkey on my back, this masochistic obsession. But in order to make the transition to bed, I’ll just have one last cigarette out on the verandah.
****. *****. ***…..
And here I am, July 9th, re-reading this post and realizing I played the same drama again last night, vowing to quit this morning and go out in a cloud of smoke, as Jane said. But I didn’t. I didn’t give her the pack of cigarettes when she dropped me in front of my house and when she didn’t ask, I considered it a sign from God that I wasn’t quite ready yet.