After class this morning, I was exposed to a culture that I had previously been unaccustomed to and even unwelcomed by.
I was asked if I wanted to go smoke [a cigarette].
Now don’t mock me, but I thought that this was such a nice thing to be offered. From what I’ve observed of the smoking culture/community, I’ve found that it breeds a sense of camaraderie. You don’t know the people surrounding you on the curb, yet you can borrow their lighter, gift them a cigarette, even chat. There are whole friendships that started with a smoke. So this offer, made by a new acquaintance, made me feel that this person wanted to be friends, wanted to share a part of his life with me.
Before today, I had been afraid to breach that barrier between smokers and non-smokers. I’ve even felt excluded from the group when I was the only one who didn’t participate, the only non-smoker in a circle of smoking friends. [This was unbelievably pathetic and self-pitying of me, as I conceded in one of my earlier posts, “Document Every Thought.” You can read it here.] However, despite my self-disgust at that childish moment, there is something to be said about feeling excluded from smoking.
I happen to find the smell of smoke to be comforting [as long as I’m not hungry. For some reason, strong smells of any sort are unbelievably abrasive when the stomach is empty. Also, the body is ready to tackle its surroundings after it has been properly nourished. This aside was completely unnecessary, but hey, it’s my blog, and I’m allowed some parenthetical side-notes].
I’m wondering if the smell of cigarettes is addictive? I know there’s such a thing as second-hand smoke, yadda yadda, and possible addiction based off of inhaling the tobacco smoke because it’s in the air around you…but can the odor of the cigarettes themselves cause a craving for the smell [and just the smell, I don’t mean that you’ll suddenly pick up a cigarette and go at it]? Any speculations or suggestions would be appreciated.
Let’s assume that the smell is addictive for a moment. Then, the combination of smell, comfort and community…definitely hard to pass up. A friendly face, hand patting at his leather jacket in search of his pack of choice, you got a light? Sorry (smile), no. Oh, that’s alright.
Something has been breached here. A wall has been climbed. A door has become unlocked. Fence jumped. Ocean swum. Line crossed. I can totally go on with this hilarious metaphors [huge grin on my face right now, I love mocking my own writing. I also misspelled “grin” about five times. I’m thinking the Nyquil I took may have something to do with this.], but.
You see the allure? ‘Cause I do.
[photo taken by me, in Manhattan, NY.]