My Bottomless Pack of Smokes

Aug 26, 2020

It’s Saturday night, I’m outside overlooking the city lights at that same posh Scottsdale resort where I had my encounter with the doctor.  We are here for a graduation ceremony for the hospital residents.  The desert skyline is something to be admired, but I can’t settle into the moment for fear that the hubby will come to drag me back inside for hour two of a slideshow featuring nobody I know. 

I need a break and a cigarette. With that said, I don’t smoke nor have I since my early 20s when I realized I’m just too cheap and responsible.  But tonight, as I stand under the twinkling desert sky while eavesdropping on the drunken drama of millennials stumbling out from the bar, I find myself toggling between annoyed and utterly grateful.   Grateful for the serene beauty of the night and the fancy free dinner (you know how much I love free food😏) but most importantly that I no longer deal with drunk drama. 

Being married to a trauma doc entitles me to a solid opinion about drinking and driving.  So I scurry over to the valet to tip them off on the far over-served young ladies heading their way.  If you know me well enough, you know I do this kind of thing often.  I like to think I’m the good kind of snitch, here to save the world — your welcome.

On a side note, who the hell are these 20 something-year-olds who can afford drinks at a joint like this.  Hell, two of the doctors in the dinner brought in their own liquor and hid it under the table… joke.  But here these 110-pound pipsqueaks have managed to buy enough alcohol to make fools of themselves.  They have a good 15 years till they should be hanging at a place like this.

This is the same generation of young adults who are hooked on $5 coffees and demand a whopping $15/hr (cash mind you) to play with my kids, put them to bed at 8 pm, and still manage to leave a dirty kitchen for me to come home to at 11 pm.  Somebody, please shoot me in the head 🙄.  

The real tragedy is that many are missing the life opportunity to build genuine character which comes from an early appreciation of a crisp, cold $2 can of PBR from your favorite dive bar.  You know, the one that had self-serve chips and salsa we often made a meal out of during college.

I digress.   As a stay at home mom of littles, I yearn to be hip.  Not a hipster, more a rock-a-billy kind of hip or maybe Tina Fey hip.  Yes, I think Tina Fey is hip. 

Alas, I’m just too responsible.  So I will settle for my good ole fashioned air cigarette.  What?   You don’t know what an air cig is?  Well, let me tell ya my friend. Imagine an air guitar but with a cigarette.  Now play along with me.  I assure you, it’s an amusing world in my head. 

I picked up this filthy bad habit three years ago and can’t seem to kick it.  I pack my cigarettes because well, of course, it makes them last longer.  I scrounge around in the bottom of my purse for my air lighter. Inevitably I find it at the bottom, amongst the smashed goldfish crackers and tubes of lipstick.  I light it, careful to block the wind and slowly exhale the much anticipated first puff. 

I enjoy my smoke just as any other smoker does as I overlook the twinkling city lights in the night breeze, taking this time to reflect on my day.  I switch between the Clint Eastwood hold and the Virginia Slims hold, finally siding with Virginia, as it’s more ladylike and my mama raised a lady.  I blow a few air rings, just to keep up my skills.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of a girl looking cross-eyed at me enjoying my smoke.  She thinks I’m looney and stares at me with her face squinched up.  I would care, but for once in my life, I feel like a grown-ass woman which means I don’t really care what others think of me as much as I used to. I give her a wink and offer her one.  Needless to say, I continue my cigarette in peace, all by myself.

Let me tell you what I miss about smoking. It’s the moments of excusing myself from any given situation numerous times throughout my day to go outside and take mindful, slow, deep breaths in nature. 

My sister picked up smoking again.  At the prime age of 43, she has finally become a morning person, enjoying the solitude an hour before the rest of her world is bustling and demanding her attention.  The addiction gets her ass out of bed but the calming energy of the still and quiet morning is what brings a smile to her face and sets the tone for her day with anticipation of the remaining seven smoke breaks to come.

Smokers are unapologetic about these breaks the way non-smokers are unapologetic about restroom breaks. They wholeheartedly have convinced themselves that these stolen moments are a necessity and unequivocally owed to them. 

If you think about it, they are a highly enlightened group of individuals.  They put their pleasure (albeit addiction) above all the noise and confusion of life and isn’t that a skill we all wish to attain?  As a mom, I am still recovering from my guilt and shame around pleasure, certain that all my waking moments should be filled with productivity, especially if I am not pulling in a paycheck.  I know…..I’m a work in progress 🙄and battle with a demanding bitch of a boss who has set up her fancy office in my head.

My guilt, of not being where I am expected to be, creeps over me.   With the twist of my funky leather heel I smash out my air cig and quickly head back in to join the hubby as a ”good wife” should.

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