Well, I passed another milestone on the nonsmoker path today: I went to a coffee shop with my Rio and a book and spent an hour sipping a latte. In my youth, I used to spend hours and hours at the Starbucks on Dupont Circle, drinking coffee and reading and smoking up a storm. This was during a time--if you can imagine such a thing--when we had no cell phones, and my friends would walk by and say "I was looking for you, and I knew you'd be here."
This was also during the time--if you can imagine such a thing--before most of my friends
abandoned me moved away. (Not that I don't love the ones who remain; there just used to be a lot more.)
Anyway, I passed many happy hours there. It was the perfect amount of socializing for me; among people, but not with them; plenty of things to orally fixate upon; occasional surprise visits from people I like. Oh, and my favorite bookstore next door. The perfect day would involve at least two new books (in case one sucked), the new New Yorker, and a City Paper. And three giant lattes and 500 cigarettes. I'd be trembling like a sacrificial virgin when I left.
Which brings me back to how hard this not smoking thing still is. It's not a constant thing, but every once in a while--like, once every couple of days-- I get totally gobsmacked by a fierce desire for a smoke. It's not a physical craving so much as it is a kind if deep, nostalgic longing, like the desire to see an old lover you fell when you pass someone who smells like they did.
I've spent a lot of time musing about what I could set on fire and inhale that would not endanger my, er, sobriety. Cigars? Pipe? Clove cigarettes? A nice joint? Beedies? A hookah? Incense? (I do have a weird desire to take my agnostic ass to Mass now that PJPII is dying. I think it's encoded in my Catholic DNA.) Nothing presents itself as a good option. I've also been pondering what, exactly, I'd be willing to give up for the option of a healthy cigarette; I think I'd part with most of the fingers on my left hand, not including the thumb, and maybe my right pinky. It's crooked anyway.
I hope I can look back at this post some day and shake my head fondly at how silly I was about all of this. Maybe I just need to get out of Connecticut.