Marlboro Lights (Photo credit: jon|k)
At this point we all know how terrible cigarette smoking is for you. I was sitting in the airport and heard a raspy womans voice say she was going to go get a case of cigarettes in duty-free and I thought of course she is. Her voice sounded like she had been smoking since she was 10 and she was in her early 70s.
Regardless I have had a relationship as many have with cigarettes my whole life. I don't know if it is my dna or my pure will power but I have been a casual smoker and never had a problem with cigarettes. They also feel and taste better when you smoke them. It is the next morning when you realize how gross they are.
When I was a kid my Grandmother would keep little jars of cigarettes around her apartment. She did not smoke but it was what people did. My how times have changed. At 14 I snuck a few into my pocket and brought them home. I actually told my Mom about it and asked her what they were like. She had smoked before I was born and went cold turkey when she was pregnant with me. I remember sitting on her bed and lighting up. She then said "ok now inhale". I did and coughed for what seemed like minutes. Then she looked at me and said "did you like it'? Pretty smart on her part.
In High School I was a casual smoker. I'd bum a cigarette off people but never ever bought a pack for myself. That would mean I smoked. When I went to college in London I started to smoke. Everyone smoked over there. I would buy a pack ever two weeks or so. I was able to do that without ramping up to become a 5 cigarette a day smoker. When I got on the plane to return to the states after six months I decided no more. I didn't touch a cigarette for a year.
Fast forward I would bum a cigarette every once awhile at a party but I was a random even smoker. Super casual. When I am in Paris I always buy a pack and sit at a cafe and have a few cigarettes while watching the world go by but after I am done I always give the rest of the pack to the lucky table sitting next to me.
We were in the Bahamas this past weekend for a quick trip. Perfect recharge of the batteries. Our friends have a house down there. We have known them for 20 years. We met them when both of our daughters were one years old. We met in the suburbs of Chappaqua through a city friend. We used to drink wine on Friday afternoon and smoke cigarettes while the kids played. The boys would come home and join in on our wine drinking and her husband would also join in on the smokes. It was fun to buy a pack with them over the weekend and resume our old ways.. Yet I woke up the next day and my mouth tasted like an ash tray.
I am lucky that my life long enjoyment of cigarettes has been an ebb and flow yet never an obsession. I won't touch a cigarette probably until I return to the Bahamas next year but I am sure when I light up the memory of the ashtray mouth will completely be gone and I will just enjoy the moment.