hey pretty

Ceci n'est pas une "dating blog."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Smoke Free DC=Smoke Free Me?

As of January 2, I will no longer be allowed to spark up a cancer stick in a bar in DC. At least not legally. I lived in San Francisco when the smoking ban went into effect in California, and I recall that certain bars ignored the ban. You just had to know the right lingo. For example, at many bars, if you asked for an ashtray, they would present you one from under the counter and you'd be allowed to puff away to your heart's content.

But something tells me that in a city run by former student council presidents, such trangressive behavior will probably be quashed pretty quickly.

I know it's terrible to admit this, but I really love to smoke. Please spare me the lecture about the health risks involved, the fact that my breath is sometimes not as fresh as it could be, the fact that I inconsiderately pollute the air for others. I know, I get it, and I feel awful about all of those things, really I do. More than you could possibly know, in fact. But still, smoking is fun. It feels good. If it had no merits at all nobody would do it. It kills me when I see anti-smoking ads that ask what the point of the habit is. It's pleasurable, duh.

Don't get me wrong, it's not as if I'm a chimney or anything. On the average day, I probably smoke about 6 cancer sticks. More when I'm drinking of course. But I have never been a pack-a-day smoker with the exception of finals period in college and during one or two really terrible breakups. But mostly I keep it limited to a couple during the day and a few at night.

But with the ban on smoking taking effect in DC bars, the places where I would be allowed to light up have dwindled to nothingness. I can't smoke at home (unless it's outside). I can't smoke at work (unless it's outside). I can't smoke at the places where I socialize (unless it's outside). With fewer and fewer options available for lighting up, the point of doing so is dwindling. Moreover, why continue to engage in an activity that is being banned in more and more places? Isn't the fact that nobody wants to be around it a good indication of the fact that you should quit?

So once again, it's something I am considering. Studies show that smokers who quit do so more successfully when they are fully committed to stopping. The problem is that I'm not. I know I should, and the sensible side of me wants to. In fact, the sensible side of me proclaimed a moratorium on the habit come by 30th birthday. That was a month ago, and yet I continue. The irresponsible side of me, the one that sometimes drinks too much, kisses the wrong boys, and is late for work, is having a hard time silencing herself. She has such a strong will, that one.

I find this dichotomy so emblematic of where I am in life right now--stuck on this precipice between tired, outdated immature, self centered behavior, and the carrying out the actions of a wise, thoughtful adult who truly has learned from the mistakes of her younger years. Wanting to move forward, but so often forgetting.

I'm curious to hear from others who may be in a similar situation and would even like to formalize the topic by writing an article about it. Consider this an open call: DC smokers who would be interested in being interviewed for an article, please contact me: hey_prettyblog@yahoo.com


Blogger Awkward said...

Well, I say quit if you can, you'll still have the drinking and kissing inappropriate men (which happen to be a couple of very admirable vices). Good luck!

7:17 PM  
Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

What will happen to our smoke-filled corners of gossip, sarcasim and criticism? soso sad.

7:20 PM  
Blogger KassyK said...

Ok I have to be honest...I quit a year and a half ago and I still crave them. This is the THIRD time I have quit and while I am hoping it sticks this time, I understand the love of the cigarette.

I do still love them and will never understand former smokers who think its gross once they quit. FAKERS!! Real smokers love everything about it (besides the cancer obv)...I still miss smoking every single day.

BUT if you need tips on how to quit...I have plenty. :)

8:36 PM  
Blogger Ar-Jew-Tino said...

I am quitting January 5, so I'll be right there with you. And I agree with everything in your post: the good feelings it brings, the fact that it's easier to quit when you want to, etc. But it's time.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Velvet said...

I've never had an addictive personality so I don't know of this craving of which you kids speak. I do have to say, I will be so happy when the smoking ban takes place. I do so hate smelling the smoke, and smelling like it.

As for being totally committed - well, I'm not totally committed to the idea of not eating 10 cupcakes a day, but, I don't do it because I know that the bad outweighs the good. It's one of those things you will just have to say to yourself one day, "This has become inconvenient, expensive, and isn't doing me any good anymore, so I should stop." You may not want to, but, you'll just decide it is time. And then, you'll be committed to it.

9:23 PM  
Blogger mysterygirl! said...

Maybe it will help you quit if you drink too much and kiss the wrong boys a teensy bit more often. You know, one vice for another. :)

I give terrible advice.

9:23 PM  
Blogger honeykbee said...

I'm on week 3. It sucks.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

My doctor told me I don't really smoke enough to quit, and so I don't smoke all that much or quit. There's a time and a place for everything, including smoking a half a pack of cigarettes while complaining about work/dating/the color of my new boots. I'm going to have to find a new place to do it or wait until spring.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

There will always be Shelly's Backroom - hooray for the Cigar Bar exception to the law.

- DS

11:35 PM  
Blogger LuLu said...

As you know, HP, I am dreading January 2nd. I keep saying that is my quit date because it just seems to make the most sense. But is it? Is it really going to be my quit date? Probably not. I agree with the studies that you need to REALLY want to quit to make it stick. And like you, I like to smoke. But maybe, just maybe, the ban is the motivation I need to at least stop smoking when I drink - which is definitely when I smoke the most. After that, quitting should be a breeze.

In fact, I can smell someone outside of my balcony lighting up. I think it's time for LuLu to go suck one down. :-)

12:22 AM  
Blogger Cowbelle said...

The irresponsible side of you sounds a lot like the irresponsible side of me. Thankfully, here in the backwaters of Portland, OR, we are still allowed to smoke wherever we please. I have told myself that I would quit a)when I turn 30 or b) when they ban smoking in bars.

But deep down, I see images of myself huddling in the rain outside the door of various establishments. As long as we aren't smoking alone, we can shrug off the social shame.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Belle said...

Oh, man.... I've been tossing around the whole quitting thing, too, because of this ban. But, geez. I really freakin' like the smoking! I know I need to, but, like you, I'm not wholeheartedly committed to it just yet.

2:58 AM  
Blogger JoJo said...

As a former social smoker, I feel your pain. I managed to get down to two cancer sticks a day and yet still continued to smoke for another year. It wasn't until my father died of lung cancer that I finally kicked the habit. Sometimes, at a bar after a few I still take whiffs of those lucky few that continue their chimney aping ways. Good luck!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

On the Casablanca DVD, Roger Ebert provides a really illuminating commentary about the film. At one point he laments the fact that smoking is going out of vogue because it is such an effective acting device. It gives a reason for characters to intensely chatting away yet is an activity that allows for pause and pacing so it doesn't feel like they are simply tearing through a script.

How will we now conduct our late-night boozy conversations?

1:37 PM  
Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

If lots of DCers quit simultaneously on Jan. 5, this is going to be one unpleasant city! I can just imagine being in a bar while everyone is thinking about smoking and trying not to. Blah!

I quit officially a few years ago but still smoke when drinking and living it up. I think a lot of people manage that way. You just have to confine that activity to infrequent nights out.

Like, once or twice a month. I can see this becoming a problem if I decide to become less of an old lady in her mid-20s, but for now it works. :)

4:28 PM  
Blogger avocadoinparadise said...

By the way, did you know that this post was featured in express today? They should really backlink to the blogs they link about.

4:41 PM  

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