I need to make a few things clear before we start:
1. I could care less whether it is fashionable or not
2. It is all or nothing: cold turkey is the only way it will work for me
3. It has little to do with health
4. I will not be sanctimonious. I won’t. I mean it.
Last night, Mrs Head and I made a joint-pact to quit smoking from Monday Jan 9. It seems a good day to make the commitment as it is her 42nd birthday. Officially, I am going to try to quit. Mrs Head insists she does not smoke. The fact that she buys, lights up and inhales nicotine in the form of a burning wrap does not constitute smoking it seems. Even at 41 years old she will not light up in front of her mother. So in some absurd but strangely accepted logic, it is just me who needs to quit.
That, dear readers, is between Mrs Head and her conscience.
I started cutting down today and as of mid afternoon I had smoked 5 less than normal. Twenty five a day is my norm- over Christmas it was probably sneaking up towards 40. I went from 8am to 1pm today without stepping outside into the alley next to the construction site that will be the Evangelical Church of Jesus Christ Built on the Rock and having one of my favourite Benson & Hedges.
Normally 7 minutes of every 90 are spent topping up the nicotine in my system. 7 minutes. 11 drags/inhales/puffs. That’s how long it takes me to finish a fag. I have it down to an art. Just enough time to go outside and breathe the East London air; just enough time to clear my head.
Withdrawal symptoms between occasional fags as I prepare for the cold turkey of Jan 9 have been soothed by one of those strange nicotine inhalers. One pops a cartridge of liquid nicotine into the middle and then it works just like a cigarette. Except there is no smoke. Or taste. Or enjoyment.
I am reliably informed by the office staff seated just outside my glass box that the inhaler looks exactly like a tampon applicator. Hence there are fits of laughter every time I put it to my lips and inhale. Irritability is a well-known side effect of chemical withdrawal so I don’t find them funny.
Fair warning, then, dear readers: the focus of upcoming blogs will most likely be trained on the internal chemical battle for my body. Will I cave and go back to my habit of the past 14 years (yes I started late) or will this be a milestone decision?
The school receptionist who is an enthusiastic smoker announces she is going to the alley. She says she is checking for stray cats but she comes back stinking of Bingo snout. I lift the tampon applicator/nicotine inhaler and suck so hard on it that the excess air in my system makes me cough.
The PA offers me a stick of gum. The chewing gum packaging is reminiscent of a 6 pack of condoms. It seems she has never realised. I make the observation and the office dissolves into giggles.
Perhaps my senses are sharpening already and emerging from their chemical dependent haze, dear readers?
I will keep you posted.
Keep the Faith,