A few thoughts on cigarettes (SF day 16)

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Catharsis through writing! It’s smokefree day 16, and here are my thoughts:

When you quit smoking, what you really miss are not the actual cigarettes, it’s rather certain moments. Sitting in bars with people smoking left and right is not the problem, at least not after a week or so. No, what you really miss are those moments when you’re not allowed to smoke anyway but looking so forward to being able to. The moments in seminars, when you know that in about 30 minutes you’ll be stepping out of the building, enjoying not lungfulls of fresh air but rather the scratchy sensation of smoke moving through your body. Or when you’re at work, knowing that it’s only another 15 minutes until you’ll be having that well-deserved cigarette break.

The thing is, there is no sensation similar to the one of getting your throat scratched by smoke and having your head put into a spin by a little dose of an extremely potent nerve toxin.

So this is the actual problem when you quit smoking: suddenly you are bereft of those little moments of joy, the ones you keep looking forward to when you’re stuck in the subway, a seminar or work. Eating will only alleviate that craving for the first few days, until you realize that swallowing just doesn’t cut it. It’s simply the wrong tube you’re using.

And here we are again

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Ever since I started to neglect my SmokeFree Category on here, I’ve had the feeling I should pick up writing for it again. Well, Ladies and Gentleman, this is the day I’ve been waiting for: Smoke-free, once again. After the last try, which lasted a mere 7 months, my girlfriend and I have decided to say Auf Wiedersehen to blue fog forever (or until they’ve created cigarettes that are dirt-cheap and healthy, but still scratch my throat in that wonderful way I oh so love. Shit, sorry).

No more money spent on things that will go up in smoke. No more smelly clothes, no more being irritated by non-smokers’ disapproving glances and fists (Ok, I’ve never actually been physically attacked, but hey, it could have happened). Which reminds me of that episode from a few days ago, when our lengthy journey from one end of Austria to the other forced us to sit inside a smoke-free train for the better part of a day. Only possibilities to smoke were two stops where the train had about 4 minutes of stay. So when I and a few other desperate smokers made our way outside, I heard a woman exclaiming something to the effect of: “Why make the trains smoke-free, when all it does is make the smokers smoke outside?”

I would have loved to grace that stupid remark with an adequate answer like, say, shoving my pack of cigarettes down her mouth. But I only had four minutes to enjoy my smoke, so I was in haste.

Oh well, from now on, I’ll be the one bitching.

As some sort of farewell present to my smoking days, here’s a bunch of cigarette-images I took over the years:

And again

Berries and cigarettes

Another coffee
Ah, I’m going to miss that combo.

And finally, the most-viewed image in my Flickr stream:
Having a Smoke
I wonder why.

On crazy ideas pt.II

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Well, it’s time to once again elaborate on crazy ideas. Diligent and faithful readers of my blog will remember my venture into the world of extreme sports a few months back. It was then that I made the decision that running as a form of exercise was totally unsuitable for me. Things have changed a bit since then.

First of all, I quit smoking. Which wasn’t that hard really (Allan Carr, you’re such a lucky bastard that so many people are susceptible to your ways. Ah, if only they knew that they don’t need to be subjected to your awful writings in order to quit the habit. But I’m digressing). Second, I didn’t stop gaining weight. For the brainiacs among you (well, you’re reading my site, so you quite probably all are), a certain pattern will have emerged. Yes, exactly, quitting the cancer sticks and gaining weight are two things inextricably linked. And that’s where the crazy idea comes back into play.

You see, quitting the smoke has given me back the ability to actually use all of my lungs, apart from only about 1/10th before. Meaning that while my last dip into the running lifestyle lasted an exact 10 minutes – due to an impending lung failure – this time it will last ten times longer. Brainiacs, do the math!

Now, why am I telling you this? Shouldn’t I be instead already running along the Danube canal, enjoying my newfound life of health and overall joy? Well, yeah. The problem is that I didn’t actually have clothing suitable for this kind of weather. But I was also too cheap to buy it in a professional sports store, resorting to a bargain shop online. And after almost two weeks, the stuff still hasn’t arrived yet. Meaning that I’m sitting on my running shoes here, but am unable to use them, simply because I don’t have any pants to wear with them.

For once in your miserable existence, Austrian Mail Service, do the right thing and hurry the fuck up. I’m already down to one pair of pants that still fit, and I really can’t afford to lose that one too.

Update: The clothing arrived today at 8am. I’m already back from my first half hour of pain. Well, actually it was about 20 minutes. Including panting stops. The above equation didn’t really work out, but I can see potential there. If you would now excuse me please, I need to rest for a while.

Smoker’s Brokers or How To Spend Money

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Today it’s exactly ten weeks of non-smoking for me. Meaning that in a mere two weeks I can boast with being smokefree for one quarter of a year. Which sounds really quite impressive, especially if you mumble the “quarter of” (that’s an invention my mother came up with this weekend, so I can’t take credit for it – I’m just the chronist).

I don’t yet feel the financial relief too much, but I guess that’s because more money has been spent on foodstuffs and the occasional ticket to the public baths in order to rid my body of excess fat accumulated through consumption of above mentioned additional foodstuffs.

What I actually wanted to write about is a service I stumbled upon today via Lifehacker. See, I quit smoking because I felt that spending huge amounts of money on things that will literally go up in smoke is a stupid thing (sure, I could have stopped smoking before sending the monetary equivalent of a Porsche Roadster down my lungs, but it’s a bit too late crying about that now, don’t you think?). Anyway, that service I’m now finally presenting to you is called Smoker’s Brokers, and it’s basically a stock broker for people who have quit smoking. They can invest exactly the amount they’d have spent on cigarettes, pack after pack. It’s an ingenious idea, really. Too bad I’ve already spent my money on food and exercise.