Day 312: Smoke

July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had never even held a cigarette before.

On my sixteenth birthday I didn’t even exercise my right to buy a pack, instead opting to take part in the (potentially) more healthy act of earning my driver’s license. But the Novice du Jour is about trying new things, and while I have no interest in taking that philosophy to extreme levels (e.g. narcotics, murder, base jumping, etc.), I thought I should at least know what I’ve been advocating against for so many years.

I wanted to see if I could understand, in that one cigarette, what makes such a lethal habit so appealing to so many people. And maybe that was unrealistic. Maybe you can only understand after two, or five, or ten. To that end I’ll never know. But this is what I did learn.

First, I decided on Marlboro Reds. My former neighbor, Charles, had once told me they were his favorite. He was retired, and would spend all hours of the day chain-smoking from a lawn chair inside of his garage. So I trust his expertise. I bought a (very expensive) pack and a lighter from the 7-Eleven down the street, and lit one up in the back parking lot.

I don’t even know if I did it right. I tried to inhale but just did a lot of coughing. The cigarette itself tasted sweet, but the smoke made my throat burn. It almost reminded me of strep throat. It burned up pretty quickly, and I spent far more time watching it turn to ash then actually smoking it.

After I came inside, my lungs felt heavy, similar to how I feel after running a long distance on a humid day.The real redeeming part about it was just the peacefulness of being alone outside on a warm, quiet night. Maybe peace and quiet are a driving factor for smokers. That and nicotine addiction.

Although I could have just as easily enjoyed the summer night just standing there, sans cigarette, with my hands in my pockets. Which will be the way I enjoy it next time.

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