It’s been quite hot in Victoria this last week, quite nice.
Tonight I had a nice family
fight dinner at The Golf Club. On the way home I noticed lots of people sitting outside smoking.
When I was a kid I asked my mother what the appeal of cigarettes were, because I’d tried them and they sucked.
“A cigarette”, she rhapsodized — she’d quit and I could tell I’d teleported her back into the addiction, “a cigarette is a conversation with a friend. It’s just you two. You enjoy your time together, but apart from everything else.”
That’s what all of these people on the journey home were doing: enjoying time apart. Smoking is like meditation — I’ve read that a big part of the appeal is the calming effect of taking deep, regular breaths. In fact, I only saw two kinds of people outside this beautifully warm late afternoon: Smokers and joggers. If you don’t like running in the heat, there seems to be only one other option.
It’s a great excuse. Somehow it seems wrong to sit outside doing nothing. That might be my own anxiety, but it seems cultural. You’re not doing nothing, you’re smoking. It’s an excuse to take time for yourself (which, perhaps, is why smokers in high-pressure offices catch flack for “not being team players” when they insist on taking smoke breaks).
In a sense smoking is freedom.