"J’allume au feu du jour ma cigarette. Je ne veux pas travailler – je veux fumer."

I have marooned myself in the Library, that hub of student activity that I so rarely frequent. 

Why, you are most surely asking?
Three reasons:
1. I have an hour and a half “layover” between the class I just finished and the singing engagement I have next. As I didn’t want to walk home just to turn around and walk back, I found myself in the Library. 
2. The Library is currently showcasing books on the history and events of the American Civil War, if posting this blog proves to be either quick or boring, I will wander over to the showcase, snatch a couple books and do some blissful, indulgent reading.
3. I decided to do an “exposure*” and use a public Mac of which the white keyboard has been discolored by frequent use of students who don’t wash their hands. Hold on for the ride, I might break out into hives, but so far I’m doing OK. Also, people watching is classic fun…take for instance the VERY pregnant girl who just walked in with a bouquet of red roses and a bunch of 10 balloons that proclaim it’s her birthday. How incredibly awkward. I would hate to carry all that junk around and cart a baby about in my womb at the same time. Still, what’s she going to do? She chose her life.
a. I think red roses are so tacky. Please, future relationship partners, never buy them for me. They are ugly. 
b. Balloons are such a nuisance. They are only good for popping. 
c. She just let go of the balloons and now they have floated to the ceiling. Classy and mature, all at the same time. Not. 
d. Is it wise for someone in her condition to be drinking a 24oz. can of AMP energy drink? I’m under the impression that it is not.

Healthy and responsible, for you AND your fetus!

 


4. Ok, I lied about only having three reasons, don’t act surprised. The library also provides me with ample opportunities to listen in on people’s conversations. Right now balloon girl is shoving a brownie into her mouth and proclaiming “I don’t even like sweets” and then munches away on another bite. Hypocrite. Yeah, fellow students, you might think I am contentedly listening to selections from “Dostana” on the Desi-Love playlist on my iPod, but I am listening in on your lives. Covertly, of course. 

All that junk doesn’t even have anything to do with anything I had planned to discuss in this riveting installment of “the-most-fascinating-paper-that-only-the-TA-will-read” so I’ll just get on with it, shall I?

Today’s topic? 
Smoking.

For veritable other reasons than the ones I will talk about, I don’t smoke.
a. I am a singer, I have to stake my entire adult life on my ability to sing four hour operas. I need to maintain not only lung, but also mouth and throat health. So no thank you.
b. I currently live on top of a mountain. Being a sea-level native it’s hard enough for me to breathe, why complicate things by sucking on smoke?
c. I understand (haha, how could I not know?) that there are a plethora of health risks. Also, it makes your skin look funny, and your hair all wiry, and your teeth all nasty. To someone as incredibly vain as myself, it’s just not worth all the plastic surgery required for that kind of up keep. While I am opposed to aging, I would like to do it gracefully and without hacking up a lung every time I try to climb up porch steps, that’s just so common and trashy. 
d. It’s expensive. While I don’t disagree with spending money, I’d rather not spend it on something that’s going to make me ugly. 

On the opposite side of this, I have moments of longing to be a smoker every, single day. 

I blame the French for this.  They look so elegant, they look so wise, so cynical. They have a grace and skill for it. I can just imagine being euphoric as I sit at a cafe with a ham sandwich, a good book and a pack of cigarettes wiling away an afternoon reading, smoking and people watching.  It sounds on both turns incredibly boring and incredibly enticing all at the same time.

The French Know how to Live, that’s for sure. 
Ahh, I’m so jealous.

I also blame all the old Hollywood movies I watch. Not only do I wish my life was in black and white; but I also desire to wear an evening gown, drown myself in diamonds and promenade on the porch on an elegant evening party with the ultimate accessory: my long, sleek cigarette holder. Nothing says “sophistication” more than that.

Becuase nothing says glamour like emphysema. 

Smoking also looks completely relaxing. Like a satisfied sigh or a deep breath (that wouldn’t be that deep, since your lung would be tar).  My life is pretty stressful, and smokers always look so relaxed whilst smoking. Ah, the jealousy that swells in my breast for their contentment. 

Granted, I know I live in a fantasy world for the majority of the time that I am awake and walking around, so it’s no use to tell me that these are just glamorized situations. I know this. That knowledge, however, does not make smoking any less appealing.  Perhaps it is the preoccupation I have with my hands…they always must be doing something: doodling, texting, Twittering, rolling Tac-It, that smoking has always just been something else to keep my fingers busy. 

Also, if I’m looking for a way to relax, there are other methods to cope with fitfulness. I take a walk, I go for a drive, watch a Bollywood, read a book, listen to Chopin…etc. It goes on. I don’t need something toxic to take the edge off, when I can do it myself.

Whatever it is, I’m too much of a chicken to try it. Besides, I would turn into a leathery, stale smelling, bitter old hag. And that’s not worth the glamour. 

Extras:
-An interesting study on smoking was done in Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” It is a great read (as all of his books are) and highly enlightening! And since you’re just a crap TA why not fill your time with something useful? 
-Title comes from a poem by French (ironic, non?) poet Guillaume Apollinaire [pseudonym]. The poem is entitled “Hotel” and was composed for “melodie” by (one of my favorites) Francis Poulenc.
-I am not clinically diagnosed with OCD, though my sister and mother are… I am however having to control my anxiety while touching this keyboard. It’s like I can feel the skin cells of everyone else who has touched it forming a film on my fingertips and it takes all of my concentration to sit here and type this without letting it overwhelm me or forcing me to go wash my hands. 
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