Miss Letting-Go-Getting

Miss LGG has…finished with her smoking
May 6, 2008, 6:28 am
Filed under: Life | Tags: ,

I totally stole that title from a new David Sedaris story in the May 5 issue of the New Yorker, coincidentally titled “Letting Go.” which I came across while flipping through the magazine on the train ride home tonight– pretty funny considering today was the deadline I had set for myself to quit smoking. I took it as a sign that the pack in my bag absolutely had to be the last…

“It’s one thing to give up smoking, and another to become a former smoker. That’s what I would be the moment I left the bar, and so I lingered awhile, looking at my garish disposable lighter and the crudded-up aluminum ashtray. When I eventually got up to leave, Hugh pointed out that I had five cigarettes left in my pack.

“Are you just going to leave them there on the table?”

I answered with a line I’d got years ago from a German woman. Her name was Tini Haffmans, and though she often apologized for the state of her English, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any better. When it came to verb conjugation, she was beyond reproach, but every so often she’d get a word wrong. The effect was not a loss of meaning but a heightening of it. I once asked if her neighbor smoked, and she thought for a moment before saying, “Karl has . . . finished with his smoking.”

She meant, of course, that he had quit, but I much preferred her mistaken version. “Finished” made it sound as if he’d been allotted a certain number of cigarettes, three hundred thousand, say, delivered at the time of his birth. If he’d started a year later or smoked more slowly, he might still be at it, but, as it stood, he had worked his way to the last one, and then moved on with his life. This, I thought, was how I would look at it. Yes, there were five more Kool Milds in that particular pack, and twenty-six cartons stashed away at home, but those were extra—an accounting error. In terms of my smoking, I had just finished with it.”

Myself…I acquired the habit early on in college as a misguided means of proving that I was most definitely not the sweet, innocent, baby faced thing that many people took me for. I would delight in people saying “you don’t look like a smoker,” and I would think HA, fooled you. I am a smoker and I’m totally bad-ass. This cigarette in my hand clearly proves it. I know it’s stupid, but fuck-it–I’m nineteen and despite appearances, I’m tough and surly and you better not mess with me or I’ll…I’ll…burn you with my cigarette. What? It wasn’t long before I was in love with my addiction and anyone who gave me grief about it could bug off, they obviously didn’t understand.

Now I’m thirty-two, addicted once again, and smoking doesn’t make me feel so bad-ass anymore. It just feels…gross. Plus also, I hear it can kill you or something?

Oh my lovely little friends, this dirty nasty affair of ours must come to an end. I’m tired of breaking up with you only to get sucked back into an expensive and guilt-ridden relationship. I will miss you, but it’s sooo over. For good this time. For real.

I smoked one last deliciously disgusting cigarette while writing this post and flushed the remaining five (in the spirit of the story) down the toilet. I’m not going to lie to you–it made me sad to see them go, but I am determined to do this. It’s definitely time to do this. I have finished with my smoking.


Miss LGG

P.S. To my friends who still smoke, I will never judge or abandon you.  Just don’t let me talk you into giving me a cigarette.  I’m real good at that.


2 Comments so far
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Go! Go! Go!

Comment by schluetermetz

Did you read this today?

Comment by schluetermetz

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