This is going to sound odd, but there’s a part of me that regrets quitting smoking.
I know. I know. I said it would sound odd.
But for all the benefits I feel, from the way my voice is that much clearer (sure, like you don’t sing in your car) to the long rides I could never take if I still inhaled (literally) Camels, there are those occasions when the negatives come by to remind me.
This morning, the stretch of the 5 freeway just south of Camp Pendleton, just where it’s caught between country and city, overlapped like a slide over my vision. There was no getting around it, so I went with it. I was sitting at my desk, after all. No harm done. I could see what it was trying to convey; it was the drive to Clostio’s house. It didn’t matter which one or where he was, this Viewmaster in my head was saying, “Don’t you miss him? Huh? Don’t you?”
Of course, I do. He and I haven’t spoke, best of friends and everything, in two years. Recently, Vicky found out he’s in a 12-step program. Maybe he’s straightening himself out. I don’t know. But the thing that has been most in my mind is: What then? What if he does straighten himself out? Clostio and I used to sit around and smoke together. We won’t do that now. Without smoking or drinking, will we still be able to be friends? Was our friendship that shallow? (Maybe it was, for him to sequester himself from me that easily…)
I’ve also been thinking about my dad’s memorial. I know where the people I’ll want to hang out with will be: outside! Smoking! But not me… I don’t smoke… dammit… I’ve thought about just standing out there (in the 106 degree desert) with them and not smoking but that would put me very much out of place. I wouldn’t belong.
Then, there’s Tim and Autumn. They smoke.
There’s Jeff. There’s Rich.
Shit, man. This non-smoking shit is tough.