I am a non-smoker…now. I smoked for 17 years of my life. I started smoking cigarettes when I was 20. Yup a late bloomer. I never tried, tested, nor tasted a cigarette before then. I hung out with the smokers when I was in high school, but I never had a puff and never had the urge. However, once at University I was having a hard time as I had never had to study before. School used to be easy. I was freaking out. I needed a solution. It ended up being lighting up and inhaling that dastardly smog from cigarettes.
I had heard that cigarettes gave you a buzz. Too true! After my first inhale of the wicked stick, I coughed, choked, gasped and then felt a weird wooziness in my head. Mission accomplished. I found my med to relieve my desire to vomit from stress. So began, my seventeen years of smoking a variety of ciggies. However, this is not about being a chain smoker or what brand of smokes I found best…it’s about the life changing experiences.
My sister was a smoker. I used to visit her all the time after she got married and one day I told her about how stressed I was at University. I didn’t know to study. I had so many things to read and so many reports. I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t eat (not a problem nowadays). I had been consuming tablespoons of instant coffee to help me stay awake. The abuse I was subjecting my body to was criminal. I asked my sis what it felt like to smoke. “When you first start you get this buzz,” she said. She warned me not to start. Once you start it’s hard to stop. Well, I was at my wits end and needed something. So, I “learned” how to smoke. With much coughing and sputtering and that awful, horrible taste. My mouth felt like I had licked an ashtray. So disgusting! And so began my years of smoking.
At this point in time you could still smoke in buildings. I remember sitting by myself at a table in front of the library at the U. I was reading, highlighting, and basically studying. My nerves were calm and collected. Thank goodness for smoking. I met a really nice guy this way too. He was selling packages of tickets to a comedy club. I decided to be nice and buy them. He came back three hours later. We chatted it up and he asked me out. What? That was weird and random. Why would anyone want to date loser me? The reason I wondered was because he was tall and handsome and had broad shoulders (that was my achilles heel with guys). Funny thing…he wasn’t a smoker. Now, had I not been a smoker I would never have met this wonderful guy. Had it not been for my parents eavesdropping on my phone conversations and telling him off with an abrupt, “don’t ever talk to my daughter again” who knows what might have been.
I had lost touch with my favourite childhood cousins. Years later they ended up at the same hall and same dance that I was at. I was sitting and smoking at my table when I heard, “Well look at Miss Goodie Two-Shoes.” It was my cousins. Well, they were smokers too…by golly what luck! We spent the rest of the night catching up and clearing up the past transgressions and filling up the ashtrays on the table. We went back to being great cousins/friends and would hook up many times during the week at coffee shops or study halls and sit around and smoke and study together. And guess what? We are still hanging out. Yay to smoking!
I could tell you many wonderful stories of how I had met wonderful people thanks to fag addiction (OMG I seriously love that the British call cigarettes fags..so cool!). All these people are kind, friendly, and generous. My piece de resistance is actually that, thanks again to my puff addiction, I met Wiseguy.
I was working at this one company and one of the girls there asked me if I knew this guy. You see, we are both Croatians and apparently if you are one then you know every single one on this planet. I smirked and sarcastically said, “Oh sure…probably.” So, I walked with her to go and check him on her behalf. Who did I see standing there but the man who had grown up on the same street as my brother-in-law. The man who’s child was ring boy at my sister’s wedding. I actually DID know him! We chatted, reminisced and then he had to go back to work. Huh…life is funny sometimes.
He worked afternoons and I worked afternoons and when I went out for a ciggy break, he would join me. This went on for weeks. Catching up on each other’s life histories and what was going on in our lives now. This went on for about 3 months. I met his children. We hung out. We got along. We got along so well in fact, that we moved in together after those three months. We married the year after. So here we are 21 years later. Still together.
So, when people say that smoking can ruin your life, I wouldn’t really say that. I would be more inclined to say that smoking can ruin your health or your voice or your looks and it especially ruins your taste buds. In my experience though, I am not advocating smoking, but I would say:
Smoking…definitely life changing.