After a prolonged period of lurking, I once again step out of the shadows to say "Hello". Well, not only that, actually. I have a little personal story that might just fit the topic of this board. I hope you'll enjoy it.
Among those who consciously indulge in the dark pleasures of smoking, there are two main groups: those who limit themselves to fantasizing about the smoking pleasures of others and those who also (or exclusively) participate themselves. I've always been on the fence on this issue, but leaning a little towards becoming a smoker myself.
Anyway, for the last 20 years of my life, this had more or less been a pipe dream as I come from a non-smoking family in which this habit is regarded as filthy. Openly admitting to being a smoker would have created subtle conflicts that, frankly, would have ruined the experience for me. As a consequence, I snuck the occasional cigarette out in the woods, but that was pretty much it.
About a month ago, I moved out to go to college. I'm in a new town far away from home where no one knows my previous "me", no one can really check on me and no one cares whether I smoke or not. I'd known this day was coming ever since I got my enrollment confirmation early this year. Naturally, I tried to figure out what I was going to do about the smoking thing. Would I embrace the new freedom and start? Or would I shirk and remain a non-smoker? I really had no idea.
As moving day drew closer, I tilted in favor of starting and bought a pack and a lighter.
On my first evening alone in my new apartment, I smoked by the window. No hiding, no nervous terrain recon to make sure nobody could see me - just Me and my Cigarette.
I don't exactly know what I expected. Some kind of epiphany? In any case, it did not happen. The experience left me puzzled. I had felt the soft rush of nicotine, the weakness in my chest and the heat of the cigarette as it burned down between my fingers. It was more pleasant than the clandestine smoking back home, but then again, not overwhelmingly good either. In a sense, it felt like shooting whiskey: a strong, but short-lived sensation, enjoyable every once in a while, but not necessarily something one would like to do on a daily basis.
Now, there's a lot of reasons why this might have happened. I had smoked before, and so I knew what to expect. My closet smoking at home may have given the experience a bad connotation. Lastly, I may just not be born to become a smoker. I don't exactly know.
And yet, over the next few weeks, a desire developed. As the night took over the city and a loud and busy town turned into a quiet, yet charming array of white and yellow lights, I really began to feel like looking out the window and having a cigarette. It didn't feel like addiction, but more like a nice moment to enjoy. I didn't crave it, but I somehow knew I would miss it if I didn't do it - as you would miss a lost opportunity to watch a falling star go down.
And so I indulge. Simply put, it's marvelous. But it's not just the cigarette that does it for me. It's the entire scenery, the slumbering city, the countless dots of light and last but not least, the burning tip of the cigarette in the black of the night.
Does that make me a smoker? I don't know. I don't feel like smoking most of the time. Do I enjoy it? Yes. Is this weird? Maybe a little.
So I leave you, my readers, with an image of a man deep in thought, standing by the window of his top floor apartment, smoking and watching the motions beneath the sparkling city lights. Because that's what I'm going to do right now.