A recent illness flare up has compelled me to quit smoking. For good. I’ve told people I have tried in the past, but truth be told, I never really wanted to quit. It was a social activity at work, a chance to get some fresh air (as ironic as that is) and catch up with my co-workers.
Some of the jobs I had even had in the past didn’t see the purpose of that 10 minute break if you weren’t a smoker. So naturally, being stressed out and wanting that break, I continued smoking into adulthood. I began like many people did-in high school for the ‘coolness’ of it and that nicotine newbie high, otherwise known as oxygen deprivation. Smoking was gross. We can all agree that it isn’t the wonderful aroma that draws us in. It’s the brief high, the illusion of being cool, the ability to take a break at jobs that otherwise see no point to the breaks, and the ability to take a few puffs now and then to de-stress from life.
The first time I lit up, it tasted like bad decisions. But a lot of things do and we persevere until it tastes like normalcy.
It’s been over a decade since I started smoking and a little over a week since my last cigarette. My smell has returned to a higher potency than before. I can smell the disgusting cigarette smoke in ways I’ve never smelt it before. Every now and then the smell makes me crave it, as terrible as it smells.
Every time I give in and light up, I taste high school. Insecurity and an excitement for life that nothing can replicate these days. I taste my first job at a gas station. Stupidly, I challenged myself to smoke test all the brands of cigarettes in case anybody asked me for my suggestions. Nobody ever did, though. Shockingly.
Newport’s taste like being punched in the chest by a rambunctious friend while Virginia Slims tastes like terrible judgement from a great-aunt.
I want a cigarette now. Just remembering all the times I lit up after doing something exciting for the first time. It tasted terrible, like my first beer.
I wonder how many things in life we continue solely because it tastes like our youth or the first time we drove a car or our last day of high school?