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Little Glowing Orange Friend ~ Smoker Tales

May 4, 2013 10:58 a.m.

Day off. Finally Saturday. Went on five mile walk from eight a.m. til 9:30, when back in car and driving off back home.

When I was around three or early four years old, my mom and grandmother were out in the back yard on lawn chairs, sunning themselves one summer afternoon. For some reason, maybe I’d come in to use the restroom, I was in the house on my own. On the kitchen table was the sugar jar filled with saccharine tabs that looked like white aspirin pills. It was one of those things I was told only adults use, and not to touch. I opened the porcelain lid and put one in my mouth. I didn’t care for the flavor and thought it would make me ill, yet went back for another, and another. Almost like people do after smoking some marijuana were they keep eating Oreo after Oreo, for the sensation of the food, texture, molecular flavor bursts. After a time, my mom must have realized I’d been gone for too long and came in to find me munching on the saccharine. Of course, I was yelled at in that worried, “What the heck have you gotten into?” fashion worried young mothers have. She told me those were poisonous for children! I asked her why she ate it? She told me never, never to do that again!

I recall doing the same sort of thing with toothpaste once, sampling the flavor, and swallowing, thinking it wasn’t fantastic, but then going back for more. Smoking cigarettes is sort of like that.

My mom currently carries an oxygen tank around the house with her. It joins her out of the house on errands, to her mahjong games, and restaurants. I joke that this woman, who never once even tried a cigarette, should at least have been able to have fun and smoke, for all the fun she’s having with an oxygen tank to breathe now; at least have earned the suckiness of that tank and breathing apparatus. What has she done to deserve that luck? And no, my dad never smoked either.

Yet, post first bipolar episode since age nineteen of this magnitude, and not as bad as the one at age nineteen, here I am being comforted yet again by cigarettes. I know intrinsically that they are bad for me, yet I crave them, even now sitting typing this. I walked five miles this morning. I know as soon as my summer schedule hits and I slow down, I will unplug from the ugly corporate smoke machine. But it feels so good to be bad. I light up the little orange glowing friend again, a Capri Ultra Light, skinny little cancer stick that it is. Drag on it with a cup of coffee by my side in the car cup holster, feel like a rebel as I drive to this job, slog to this job. This year beat me up, yet I made myself recover in record time to finish up my obligations.

The school is threatening to shutter up and rent out an entire building now, get rid of the middle school program for the time being. The parents have defaulted on their student’s tuition. How is that happening? Do the parents find that their hard working teachers are too well off? Do they know the school owes many of their teachers three to five months salary? Yet the school has money to take the students to camp, all third through eighth graders.

05/09/2013 2:22 p.m. So what I did yesterday was leave a pack of cigarettes, my Capri Ultra Lights, on a railing outside of El Patron for some other smoker to have, as they are expensive and pleasurable. Then today when I took the boys on their morning walk, took my American Eagle Ultra Lights and left them on the planter ledge for yet another smoker. And now I am cigaretteless.

Cigarettes. They feel great in the hearing of the lighter fire smack on, the burn of the end of the stick, the first puff inhaled. It hurts your esophagus, you know this, but it feels good in that it feels bad and wrong. I used to believe that it cuts off our oxygen intake, hence the high. I know I have at times breathed in and felt pain in my upper right arm, a clot of sorts I was sure. And at times worry about the lower lobes of my lungs.

Each time I have quit, some mysterious back/muscle soreness has appeared. The ridiculous thing is I am in good shape right now as have been doing my five mile walk at least two days a week. Hiked up Runyon with David, couldn’t even slow down enough for him to walk by my side. Why do I want to fuck my body up by polluting it with smoke?

And teach time I finish a cigarette, I go through elaborate lengths to wipe down my teeth and tongue, drink liquid as I smoke, breathe out if in car to get rid of bad air. It tastes like burning ash, not good at all. Makes everything stink. And yet, how great does a cocktail or beer and cig sound? Or a coffee and cigarette? Such a ridiculous habit, yet so damned pleasurable, if only not for all the nasty side effects, that surely come along with the disgusting, rebellious habit.