Monday, November 13, 2006

Poop Stick!

Good thing cigarettes cost money.

Used to be I'd judge the distance between two places by the music I'm listening to as I tragress. The walk from my house to my girlfriend's house is one Tool song long. The bike ride from here to campus is usually two to three Sims songs. The time it took for me to leave my house, hop on the bus and get onto the Megabus to Chicago was almost all of Blood Mountain. I can only get through a few Squarepusher songs before I have to dismount and lock my bike up when going across campus. I can squeeze a good seven Pig Destroyer songs into any distance I travel.

It's a decent system, as I can actually sort of plot the amount of time it's taken by knowing how long the song I just listened to is. Fuck miles and feet, tell me how many Massive Attack songs away my final destination is. The 12 hour bus ride (Christ almighty) from here to Chi-Town ate up essentially every album I brought with me. The walk home this morning was almost perfectly to the point in Check Your Head where the album begins to peter. What a great choice that was, by the way. I usually have to side with Ill Communication in the old Check Your Head vs. Ill Communication debate, but Check Your Head brought the perfect hardcore funk I needed to finish the trek. (I think I tend to side with Ill Communication simply for "Get It Together" with Q-Tip, which is perhaps a little unfair.)

However, that same walk is also just about 3 cigarettes long.

I thankfully managed to successfully light up just as he hits the words "Soul Fire!" which was timely as all hell. If the lighter had futzed on me as it had been before I left Chicago I would have missed that golden moment of synchronicity. And I must admit I feel oh so right jamming down the street with a Djarum Black in my mouth rockin' it old school at 6:25 in the morning.

I don't smoke. I'm one of those smokers that likes to tell themselves that as they spark. It's okay to have this cigarette, because I don't actually smoke. Logic! I never smoked in high school; it took me till my first year in college to have my very first cigarette. I was always a cigar man. Weed doesn't count. The old "Do you smoke?" question usually resulted in the quip "Well, not cigarettes" which garnered a couple of smirks and even a few inquiries of where to score. But recently I've found myself in situations where a cigarette is just perfect, typically during late night/early morning strolls with a specific end-point such as my home in mind. I've hardly ever bought a pack of cigarettes. The farthest I've ever really gone is to split a pack with friends, and even this I've done twice and both within this year. When I'm drunk I'll smoke like a damn chimney if offered, then I'll wake up hungover with that shit feeling in my lungs that I'm sure "real smokers" have on a far more consistent basis. Then I tend not to smoke a cigarette for about two months. It's somewhat of a loophole based system, one focused on "indulgences" as opposed to addiction. Or so I tell myself. I can decide at what point I would become a smoker, at what level of consistency in habit I would have to get to to suddenly define myself as such. I never defined myself as a stoner, but the amount of weed I intake could probably discount that.

So much of my attitude on drugs relies on self-definition: So long as I'm not an alcoholic, I can drink all I want. If people see me walking along smoking a cigarette, the assumption there is that I'm a smoker. But it doesn't matter what other people think so long as I know that their view is fallacious. But for all I know I could be lying to myself as opposed to lying to them.

Most of my access to cigarettes, despite my having been 18 for almost three years, is from friends or people I happen to be around. If I'm offered a cigarette, a good amount of times I will accept the generous offer because it's a nice gesture and, frankly, I sort of have a hankering. I do enjoy it. I never thought I could, because they tend to smell pretty fucking awful and they never seemed to have any purpose to me. Why would anyone smoke something that didn't get them high? I underappreciated the nicotine buzz, which can be a pretty strong one. I believe the point at which I become a smoker officially is when it is no longer about feeling that nice buzz and more about satiating a craving. Usually if I say to myself that I could really go for a cigarette, I don't have one because I don't want to fall into that trap. I allow myself a day or a weekend to smoke consistently, then drop it for a good period of time. They say it's still dangerous to smoke socially, which is primarily what I do, but it's not as though I don't recognize it as dangerous. I'm not lying to myself and saying these things aren't fucking horrible for me. I recognize that. But big fucking deal. I find it hard to change around my lifestyle based on what is healthy for me because I think a few vices here and there are necessary for humans. Before I ever smoked a cigarette, I didn't really understand them. I used to be of the mindset that so many people seem to be where I didn't even comprehend the idea of smoking cigarettes. Why would anyone do that to themselves? What's the point? I sort of have a grasp on why these nail coffins are so integral to some people's lives and how they can truly be enjoyed. As with most things, it came down to trying it myself.

I don't know that you can ever knock something without trying it. You have no real standpoint to come from if you don't understand the mindset of the individual. This is not to say "Jump off a bridge" or however you want to equate this; it simply means you're not looking at the full picture if you don't have any relation to the subject. I usually don't like how I feel after I've had a cigarette, and frankly I'm glad for that because it means I'm still capable of controlling my own actions. If ever I get to the point where I need a cigarette or can't get by without one, then I will consider it no longer an indulgence. Consistency is key too; I can turn down shit being offered to me with the knowledge that too much is simply too much. That's a good point to be at, I think, and without that willpower I probably would never have had a cigarette in the first place.

But god damn, I do enjoy them.

There's something just so nice about a few good drags during a late night walk that make the whole thing an experience I consider continuing. The atmosphere of the absence of people and the moon shining above is simply so appropiate for cigarette smoking. The occupation of your hands and mouth as you are walking is suddenly a fixation I can comprehend. Maybe to ween myself off cigarettes if I ever get too far gone is to give hand and blowjobs on my way to wherever I'm headed.

The issue though is now I have cigarettes, and access impedes control. Having them around will inspire me to even consider "Hey, I should have a smoke". This is why I am typically very generous with cigarettes if I ever have my hands on them. I hear of two-pack-a-dayers, which to me is completely insane, as I tend to run through a single pack in about two months, a good amount of them not even smoked by me but riddled among friends and hangers-on. Hit me up at the right time and I will be a homeless man's dream come true. It's such a social activity for me anyway, and social situations are what inspired even giving it a shot in the first place. Going out to the smokers circle and immedietly connecting with all these other people who are joining in the same activity feels like such a bonding experience. Stories are told galore, meeting people is encouraged, and conversations can be started with anyone with a simple "Got a light?". That's mainly the aspect I like about it, getting to share in this addictive society that has existed for generations. Not ever having smoked in high school or junior high, which was prime cigarette time in the "I'm doing something wrong" sense, I've sort of transgressed that whole aspect and stumbled instead upon a world where everyone has already been smoking for years. Or, they just started in college, like me (I guess), and there's a connection there immedietly. It's always funny to me to meet smokers because on the tip of everyone's tongue is "Yeah, I'm trying to quit", and they certainly have a funny way of showing it. We know it's bad for us going in. But we go in, dammit.

If I ever change over to using the cigarette system to judge distance, I've then lost the true nature of myself. Music has always been the most prevalent for me in almost any situation, and for that to lose out to some new jack rolled-up cancer stick would be frankly depressing. The issue being that such a changeover would be so subtle that I could hardly even lament the passing. But I feel as long as I'm paying attention to these signs, there's no way a subtlety can even occur. As long as I think way too fucking hard about everything, I can keep myself in check. Which, in doing so, will allow me to have a cigarette once in a while.

Because I'm not really a smoker. Honest.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, jesus, friend, promise me you will keep cig urges in check and won't drift toward doing it more. It honestly made me scared as hell just to read what you wrote here. I couldn't stand to have you smoking.


9:15 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Controversial subject. I won't touch on it again.

1:49 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

I've smoked off and on since I was thirteen. I'm convinced that some people get addicted and a few of us don't. I love it too, but the hubbin' hates it.

Colorado is now smoke-free indoors, which puts a huge damper on the drinking/smoking activity. I love that, but it does make me hungover.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

where are you? we've all missed you and need you. we've been forced to subsist on a greatly reduced jack diet, and it's killing us. till now we've done okay, barely making it through the day, feeling weaker with every passing moment, but soon we will be unable to feed ourselves physical nutrients and our physical selves will decay. but this lack of tangible sustenance pales in comparison to the essential vitamin J that we are deficient in. please jack, hear my cry! feed us, so we may drink the sweet nectar of your cranial fluids and be merry once again!! we are parched, we are hungry, we WILL have your cranial-berry juice whether given freely or unlodged with a rock, THE JUICE WILL FLOW AGAIN!!! YOU HAVE CREATED A MONSTER, NOW YOU MUST FEED IT!!!!!!

3:38 PM  

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