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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I’m Just Going to Step out onto the Porch for a Moment

To be honest, I feel safest with a half-smoked cigarette in my hand. There it is, my slim filtered friend, half-gone and yet there’s still plenty left.

Wait. You what? You thought I quit? Where’d you read that?

Oh, right. Yes, it was me, wasn’t it?

Hey. I was probably drunk when I wrote that. You know how I am when I’ve been drinking.

It becomes harder and harder to sustain this smoking habit, even if it is only two or three a day; and now that winter approacheth, I am reminded, once again, that I can’t keep doing this.

Have you smoked in Minnesota? It’s not legal, apparently. The smokers have been sent scurrying, a stinky tangle of them at the doors of most public buildings, outside bars, restaurants, apartment complexes.

And courtesy of Mother Nature, in just a few short minutes it will be too dang cold to smoke outside. It’s early October, and already I’m wearing most of the clothing I own in order to step out onto the porch for a cig. Soon, I’ll be knocking on a neighbor’s door, trying to borrow a cup of woolen socks.

The temperature is set to rise again in a couple days, a 30-degree swing between today and Friday, and that should buy me some time to either gird my loins (or pay someone to gird them for me) or to resign myself to icy extremities and intermittent stench because this sitting on the porch, blowing furtive smoke toward the street? It will not stand.

Smoking. On the one hand, it’s an expensive, terrible habit.

On the other hand, it goes delightfully with beer and those funny friends of yours.

And on yet another hand, it’s a health risk, which is also expensive and does not go well with beer.

Decisions, decisions.

Also, quickly: Tomorrow is the first of three “scary stories” I’ll be posting for the next three Thursdays. If you have a scary story to link, tell me how to link it and I will!


Gaston Studio said...

I'm so glad I have a huge wraparound porch on which to smoke my coffin nails. I know it's bad, and it's also a disgusting habit, but I'm still a smoker. And guess what, I can't stand the smell of cigarettes!

SparkleFarkle said...

Ahhh! Smoking! What better way to shave a few years off your life.

Anonymous said...

Argh.. smoking! Thank goodness for cold weather to help you kick the habit, right?

Reddirt Woman said...

Pearl I went to a hypnotist to quit and it worked. Not one of those groups... those didn't work for me. But I'd be lyin' if I didn't say that even after 9 years every now and then on a bad day, I'll see someone next to me at a stoplight smokin' and I want to get out, knock them upside the head and steal their cigarette. The thing is, the urge passes... quickly. I don't fight with myself anymore about to have or not to have a smoke.


Suzanne said...

Oh Peal.. Why you little...

I smoked from 14-30. Been clean for eight years. Miss it every day. Enjoy!

powdergirl said...

You need a big ole' smoking coat !

Funny how the cold reminds us that our habits are inconvenient at best : )

Is there a temp service that offers lloin girders? ROFL!

Mandy's Kidding said...

I quit two years ago, and I quit because of vanity.

I noticed little crow's feet gathering around my eyes, and I said, "Aw, hells no!"

I didn't really care about my lungs. I mean, who can see that?

Jayne Martin said...

I'm right there with Mandy. Totally a vanity thing. Why spend all that money for something that is going to age you into the Crypt Keeper far before your time? I'd rather save the bucks and buy great shoes. (Still laughing over "loose heel")

Chelle said...

Oh. I can relate, but in secret you know. It's all very secret. It's like holding onto being 14 FOREVER. What a glorious purpose!

Now you, person who's blog I've visited for the first time ever today but I'm sure won't tell my mother or the local newspapers, know my secret.

And I'm 30. There's that.

CatLadyLarew said...

Ah, Minnesota winters! Bracing! You're gonna need the smokes to keep warm.

Pearl said...

Gaston, I don't like the smell either!

SparkleFarkle, I can think of a couple, but you're right. It's not a healthy choice, is it?

ladyfi, I agree. And actually, once it dips well below zero the dang things won't stay lit, so that helps, too. :-)

Reddirt, I've tried hypnotism and I just don't go under well. They have pills, though, right? I wouldn't mind some pills, and I know my doctor would be all over it. Hmmm. Think of the money I'd save!

Suzanne, smart! I actually didn't start until I was almost 30. Dumb!!

powdergirl, ain't that the truth? You should see me, late at night, sneaking cigs. Sat out on the porch last night wearing a little bit of just about everything. Stoopit. The cold is a powerful motivator, though, you're right.
And I think I know where I can get you a loin girder, if you're interested.

Mandy, a girl after my own heart! If anything, it's the stink and what it does to your skin that will move me to quit. Seems I'm okay with the expense, and I've firmly put the health risks in some dark corner of my mind, but have my clothes stink and my face wrinkle?! Horrors! :-)

Pearl said...

Hi, Jayne! You guys kinda snuck in on me there... I agree with the vanity thing. :-) Obviously (see previous response)

Chelle, I promise not to tell your mom if you promise not to tell mine!

CatLady, :-) THAT'S why I smoke! It keeps me warm! :-)

Tamsin said...

In all my non-smoking wisdom, it seems to me that the only way to quit is to really want to. Not because other people want you to, or because you think you should.

My dad started smoking within weeks of a heart attack when he was in his 40s (after some really pathetic attempts to hide it from us), but it took another 10 years before he finally felt like his health had caught up with him. Then he kicked a 40 year old habit in a matter of weeks.

Erin said...

I am a new reader of your blog, and have found myself in the same situation. I moved from Ca to Minnesota and it is almost to cold to go outside, but smoking in the house is outta the question. I guess the only other option is quitting??? Then do I quit drinking too?? Gosh some things are so complicated when it is too cold :)

Douglas said...

It's come full circle. Or would have if I hadn't quit 39 years ago. When I started, I had to sneak the smokes; take the dog for a walk, at phys ed waaay out in the field in small groups (much like those huddled outside of buildings these days), hiding my pack of Luckies from my mother, father, and the school authorities. And, of course, putting up with the stares of disapproval from those "grown-ups". Until I turned 24 and my son was born.

Now, I can't restart though I'd like to smoke a cigar on a regular basis or maybe a pipe... it's all image, isn't it?

Kate said...

I'm hanging on to the smoking for as long as I can. It's my last vice. And until it becomes illegal to smoke in buildings in South Dakota, I'm going to go for it.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

In an odd turn of events, smoking has been outlawed in North Carolina, as well. Of all places. Apparently, the one place you can smoke is in the middle of a tobacco field.

IB said...

I read a Billy-Bob Thornton quote once:

"I guess I'll quit smoking when they stop making beer."

So, you're not alone.

Charlotte Ann said...

I went into the hospital March 2, 2009 for a knee replacement. I knew when the hung that Dilaudid IV continous infusion that this was my chance to quit. Three days I was on that Dilaudid and that's how long it takes for all the nicotine to be out of your system. I never lit another one and it's been ...well, 7 1/2 months now. The first two weeks I forgot I quit and I would get an urge that would pass quickly. Now I get the urge about once a day and it passes quickly.
I am thankful everyday that I have stopped for this long and I know I can never take another puff or I will start again.
Good luck to all you smokers(that includes my smoker husband!)

lisleman said...

I don't think you posted this looking for advice, so I'm not giving any.

Just a couple of thoughts -
Love made me quit - my wife wouldn't date a smoker. Now 25+ years later I can't stand being near a smoker. The indoor smoking ban really helped the odor in the casinos. Politicians love to tax smokers, drinkers and gamblers so when you combine those three vices tax revenues increase.

It's still your call.

kimber p said...

it took me 3 tries and I did it with Nicotrol CQ..but the real motivator for me was seeing that the $$ I was spending actually makes my house payment! *$450 is nothing to let go up in smoke!

it's insanely hard to quit..but once you get it in your head that you're sick and tired of being a cigarette's bitch, you'll quit for good. worked for me ...lol

mromain said...

I stopped smoking again just a couple of months ago. I don't like to say I quit because that seems too permanent. I would love to have an excuse to start again. It's the only bad habit that still has not given up on me. But because it has not been difficult for me to do it doesn't feel like an accomplishment and I take no real pride in it. So whenever someone congratulates me on quitting, I'm not sure how to respond.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

I found you, because the crib sent me over here, and the first thing I read is apparently stolen from my brain, except the Minnesota part. Because here in NC, for the next 3 months we still have smoking sections.

Anyway, now I'm hooked and want a cigarette (although I really want to quit) so I'm just going to follow you!

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Quitting was one of the hardest things I ever did and I really had to because I couldn't breathe anymore.
I have lots of advice on the subject if you want my 2 cents, let me know!

I didn't just quit cigarettes though....

Maybe you should smoke pot instead. I'm pretty sure it's LEGAL in MN.


Joanna Jenkins said...

Pearl, babe, ya gotta stop. Please.

Charmaine said...

Uhhh, uh. I don't know what to say.

Are you Norwegian?

Hee hee

KaLynn said...

I never 'quit'. I just go for long periods of not smoking. Of course, if the doc asks, I quit 5 years ago. But sometimes that beer just has to have a cig with it. Ya know? Keep on truckin'! Love the story!

A Mom on Spin said...

Gird your loins, girl! It's going to be a long winter!

Not The Rockefellers said...

I grew up with smokers
and I though I never really took up the habit
I may have well have been one, secondhand
Peal, I loved the smell of a cigarette in the morning...mingling with the breakfast smells.
And the smell of a cigarette as it meets the cold night ait?
Even the tobacco itself...I'd stuff my little snout into a pouch of Captain Black Cherry and make the ahhh sound.
But Pearl, those little slices of olfactory heaven came at a cost.
The people that provided them for me are now gone.
Lung Cancer
Heart Disease
I saw them joke about quitting and then struggle to breath after laughing...
and they all said the same thing to me whenever I would comment about loving the smell of a cigarette
Don't start.
It would be easy for me to tell you to quit...but I understand how damn hard that is to do
But try again...would'ja?

Peace - Rene

tattytiara said...

Oh yeah, the middle's definitely the best part of the cigarette. The smoke's all nice and warm and all the goop in the thing has condensed and stuff. I honestly don't miss it at all after quitting two years ago, but I sure enjoyed it when I did it.

mapstew said...

Pearl, now listen to me. Stop!

I was a 40/50 a day smoker. 6 years off the damn feckers now and I don't miss them. If I can quit, well, you know the rest.

Smoking is what took my sister.

Oh My Goddess said...

Smoking and drinking.
I miss it.
That's why I watch Mad Men.

Pop and Ice said...

I thank God that is a habit I never fell into. Don't drink much either. But I like my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds, so I guess it's a trade-off. Oh, and chocolate!

Gigi said...

Oh I am sooooo with you!! I quit for 5 years!!! YES, 5 YEARS!! But it doesn't go away. I work in a smoking environment, all my friends smoke. Needless to say, I have relapsed. Everyone keeps telling me; you did it once, you can do it again. But really? It's very hard. Even after I had quit, I still wanted it.

Knucklehead said...

Ugh. Disgusting habit. Quit. Now. Dammit.

justsomethoughts... said...

beer abnd smokes.
i think they were created on the 7th day.

Pearl said...

Man but I love these comments.

Pearl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jocelyn said...

Get a spittoon and some chew already.

My MN smoking took place in the '80s--you know, The Golden Years of Tarry Lungs.

the projectivist said...

I quit, cold turkey, back in February. No amount of blackmail or begging could make me give up before that. I'd been thinking about giving up for years, until one day i suddenly thought to myself "i might just see if i can go without a cigarette until 3pm. hell! i might just see if i can stop altogether." turns out i can. you'll give up when you're ready, Pearl.

'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why! said...

All these comments have reminded me of some of the wonderful reason that I have to quit. Could anyone loan me a cup or two of willpower?

Joanie M said...

I don't know how anyone can afford to buy cigarettes any more!

I quit nearly 18 years ago, cold turkey. cigarettes were $1.50 a pack.

I immediately gained 30 lbs. Now when I huff and puff going up the steps, it's because of my fat ass, not my lungs.

Ange said...

Loved this. Love the blog.
And what Chelle said. Except I'm not 30.