Friday, 3 September 2010

Hattie gives up smoking

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I decided to stop smoking.

Now let me assure you, giving up smoking is no mean feat. Not only does one lose their best friend (any seasoned smoker will attest to the fact that if faced with a year without their best human friend or without cigarettes, they'd spend a lonely 365 days with their fags), but also their street cred. Smoking is undeniably cool, and instantly makes one who partakes cool by proxy. I remember at school, sneaking up for smokes at my favourite spot 'Tree' (which was imaginatively named thus due to the space being by a tree), and someone I may have previously dismissed as a dweeb rocks up and instantly we were then friends and at one with our coolness. It mattered not that I was also a giant dweeb; a fellow smoker is a cherished buddy.

On top of that, there's the boredom. Smoking is something awesome to do when you're bored! Be you waiting at a bus stop, taking 5 minutes at work or sitting at home on the sofa, smoking a fag makes even the most mundane and listless activity bearable. And ultimately, smoking is delicious. Its great, just... great. I was faced with letting go of a lot of advantages that come with smoking, which were only marginally outweighed by the idea of saving money and not dying horribly.

It has been quite a journey thus far, nae, a noble quest. Man had been thinking of quitting as well, and we thought "Hey! Let's quit together! What a great idea, we'll be so healthy and we'll be able to support each other gently with our cravings".

This was the dumbest idea we've ever had as a duo. Two long-term nicotine addicts detoxing simultaneously under the same roof? Over a bank holiday weekend which involved a funeral and family gathering? Fucking stupid. Not even the Dalai fucking Lama could have provided 'gentle support' were he in the same situation.

We soon realised that unless one of us started again, we would most likely kill each other. 17 games of Rock, Paper, Scissor later, I lost out and Man got to return to the sweet clutches of those glorious, wondrous magic wands.

Furthermore, one of the first things I noticed was the remarkable coincidence that as soon as I quit, everyone around me, including (nae, ESPECIALLY) those who had never really bothered me before, cherished friends and loved ones, became intensely irritating and insufferable jerks. The problem was most DEFINITELY with the rest of the world, and not at all with me.

If any of you have ever tried giving up smoking, you will know that you become unreasonable, rageful, and capable of murder. People you adore will instantaneously become the source of all the anger and blame you have ever experienced in your life because they dared to give you a hug when you weren't particularly wanting one. Anything that has ever bugged you in the past will suddenly be RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE and it won't matter how totally irrationally you behave, when you are giving up smoking all irrationality becomes totally normal, (its totally normal to consider leaving one's job because someone gave you Earl Gray tea instead of Morning Breakfast), the anger you feel is how you have felt FOREVER and there is no way that there is any goodness in the world and everything you have ever feared is suddenly undoubtedly real, and you might as well alienate everyone you have ever known and start over in your life because THEY are the reason you are so angry and uncomfortable.

Or, from a more objective view, a reformed smoker cannot and should not be taken seriously when they are ranting and raving (or seething silently in a corner), because none of it will actually mean anything when they're over the hump. So special was this time that I have decided to both immortalise and commemorate it through the medium of drawing.

It started out not so bad,

but quickly deteriorated,

until the madness held me in it's vice like grip for longer than I care to remember.

As in any relationship, my ever darling wonderful man was in the enviable position of baring the brunt of my bad mood.

What was once a loving and trusting beacon of solidity and safety had been worn down to the point where man was in a near constant state of alertness, expecting quite reasonably for me to become a raging banshee at any second.

Other advantages I have noticed are I can smell things better (ooh! Flowers! Food! The dew of an Irish meadow!), my skin is no longer pallid and I am saving money to buy sweets and shit. Disadvantages are that I can smell things better (eww! Stinky feet! Poohey loo smell! Other people's body odour!), I am no longer as cool and I get bored even more easily. Its still a close call in my opinion.

I've had a few slips but I've been smoke free for 123 of the last 130 days. Not bad going I say! I hope you enjoyed my drawings.

Happy weekend everyone.