We were in the woods behind the middle school, of course. Brad had swiped a pack of Vantage 100s from his mom’s purse. I was 12, Brad was 13. His birthdate, relative to mine, gave him superhuman power and authority. I would smoke.
I recall enjoying it from the beginning, but that can’t be right, can it? Even smokers know smoking is disgusting. Whether or not I really liked it, I began to smoke every chance I got; as I got older, I got more chances. Only five years later, I’d be smoking more than a pack of Marlboros every day.
Then, after about 11 years of smoking I went to the doc. She gave me some Chantix, a quit-smoking drug, and I stopped with very little fanfare. I was a non-smoker for the next 6 years. Then, in December of 2012, I took a puff of a coworker’s Parliament Light. A week later I had a pack-a-day habit.
This time I hated it from the start. Smokers have the incredible, dogged determination to do something they loath 10, 20, 30 times every day. But I missed smelling nice. And I missed breathing deep, clear, breaths. I hated thinking of airplanes as smoke-free cages. During the winter, my hands — gloveless so I could handle my cigarettes — would dry, crack, and bleed. During the summer, I’d stand alone in the sun, sweating and feeding my addiction.
I haven’t had cigarette in five weeks now, and I don’t plan to ever fall for the “just one” trap again. As Sadaris’ friend said: I’ve finished with my smoking. I’m breathing deep again, and I smell nice. It’s the little things I like most about not smoking.
I spent this past weekend at a cabin in the Catskills with friends. That’s right, I spent a whole weekend in the woods, and I didn’t smoke once.