I am planning to quit smoking tomorrow, February 1st.; this will be the second time I’ve quit. I only started smoking in 2007 and stopped in early 2011, only to start again at the end of last year. In-keeping with my rebellious (or ridiculous) nature, I started smoking after the smoking ban came in, and I restarted when I was in hospital last October.
I gave up two years ago with the help of a nicotine spray, which I promptly became equally addicted to, so this time I’m going to try cold turkey (although chances are I’ll get addicted to turkey next).
I began smoking properly when I toured around the former Yugoslavia. They sort of handed you cigarettes at passport control, it was pretty much mandatory, and over there you can smoke anywhere, trains, hospitals, even right in a newborn baby’s face. In fact it’s actively encouraged as a national pastime.
In the time I was originally smoking, I actually found it a pretty good way to meet people; a lot of my friends at work are people I originally met smoking, and I’ve met plenty of people standing outside pubs and bars having a cigarette. It actually does have its upsides. Over the years there have been many cute smokey girls I’d see outside from the buildings around work, and would hope each time they would come over and ask me for a lighter or something. They rarely did.
A highlight for me used to be catching a glimpse of a cutie who worked next door – I didn’t know her name so I called her Redhead Stomach Girl, fairly self-explanatory. One time I was smoking with a colleague and she came out and walked past us. I tried to act all cool and folded my arms nonchalantly as she walked past … inadvertantly digging my cigarette into my arm. I let out a memorable and somewhat effeminite squeal which was not quite the impression I wanted to make.
When I quit exactly two years ago tomorrow I came to find the whole smell of smoke disgusting; but that didn’t stop me restarting in October when I spent a month in hospital – but then, everyone seemed to be doing it. Wasn’t uncommon to be on about 40-a-day there; again it was a good way to meet people. My plan to quit as soon as I came out didn’t quite happen so I’ve left it until now. February 1st is a good day to do it I think, if you’re the kind of person who wants to plan such a thing rather than doing it spontaneously.
Hmmm, this post isn’t really an anecdote is it, maybe apart from me burning my arm in front of Redhead Stomach Girl. So I’ll leave you with a bulletin I posted on our company intranet a little while back in response to some people (well, cyclists, so not technically people at all) complaining about smoking outside the entrance to the car park / bike space.
ATTENTION SMOKERS! Important geo-political news…
This afternoon I established the newly independent and self-governing Republic of Smokey Island. It’s located in Ramillies Street, just off Great Marlboro Street in front of the car park entrance. It measures 14ft by 7.5ft. It is a lovely place. Life expectancy is lower than the OECD average, but literacy is high and the people are good-humoured and friendly. It has a pier.
Main exports are chewing gum and aftershave. Pollution is high but Smokey Island is already popular with tourists who often visit us to ask us where other places are.
I require some economic migrants to help with the day to day running of the Republic. I need a Minister for Health, someone to design the Republic’s flag, someone to establish our public service broadcasting channel (Smokey 1), a map maker, an air traffic controller, 4,700 street cleaners (preferably also qualified doctors), a cheerleading team, a hotelier, an ambassador to the Sweatbox peninsula and a caretaker for the golf course.
We also require an internationally acclaimed composer to write music to accompany the lyrics for our national anthem “Smokey Island, Smokey Island, Smokey Island, woo-hoo”.
Oh and a corner shop owner with good international trading credentials.
The national language is Flemish due to a mistake on the form.
The slogan of the tourist board is “Come to Smokey Island, it’s so wheezy to get to”. I am also hiring for the tourist board.
Anyone from neighbouring lands who requires access to the car park through our sovereign territory must apply to the Embassy for a visa (I am also hiring Embassy staff).
Please come and visit the Republic – bring a camera (or buy one from our camera shop (I am hiring a camera shop proprietor)) and remember to tell your friends.
NOTE: Anyone caught littering Smokey Island’s lush tropics will be shot.
DISCLAIMER: Smokey Island is not an island due to planning permission problems.