"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. 

The Many Reasons I Wish I Lived Alone:

…this could be dangerous…

I currently live in an apartment with four other girls. Typically there are five other ones, but we’re not full at the moment. We all have our own rooms, thank heavens, but I would still much rather be all alone…
I have lived with the same 3 girls for the past few years, and had other ones cycle out (mainly due to getting married or graduating) but when I moved in with the 3 originals the apartment was absolutely disgusting. I would come over to visit my friend C, and end up doing their dishes and taking out their trash because I couldn’t even talk to C while their house was in such a mess.  Fast forward two years later and the apartment is typically very clean, and I am typically the only one cleaning. Yes, it gets annoying at sometimes, but I’d much rather I clean and do it “correctly” (aka the way I was taught to clean by my bleach-loving O.C.D. mother) than they clean and have me do it all over again because their idea of clean isn’t u
p to par with my own.
But today, I’m annoyed, and I’m a little upset, so I offer my Top 5 (I hope only 5) reasons why I wish I lived alone. 
1. The Refrigerator:
   Currently in the fridge/freezer I have 5 items, a gallon of water, a half gallon of milk, a jar of extra hot salsa, a bottle of extra spicy hot sauce and a gallon of Mint Chocolate Chip Bluebunny Ice Cream. 
Just five things.
I keep these items on one shelf in the fridge door (except for the ice cream, which is in the freezer, logically). The rest of the fridge/freezer, I might add, is overflowing with eggs. milk, and rotten things people have saved and forgotten to eat. I used to clean out the fridge all the time until I moved to my little shelf, but I stopped caring after I stopped digging through the abyss of rotten goods. The other day I came home and my shelf had been disassembled and in place of my stuff 15 bottles of salad dressing were in it’s place. I don’t ask for much, I don’t keep much, so I waited for my roommates to leave on a group Wal*Mart run and I restored MY order to MY shelf. It maybe selfish, but I don’t have 4 bowls of the
 same soup in bowls saran wrapped in the back of the fridge either… so get over it. 
2. The T.V.:
As a rule, I hardly watch T.V. during the school semester…but this semester is different, I have A LOT of free time on my hands, mainly between noon and 
two so I always sit down with my lunch and watch the History Channel. At this time of day, recently, there has been a lot of specials on Germany in WWII and the Nazis and so on. Every time I watch these programs I get offended stares from my roommates as they walk through the living room. 
Excuse me!
 I like history, I have a passion for it (and all my roommates k
now that) and WWII, after the Civil War, happens to be one of those eras I am just astonished by. And anyway, I endure hearing you watch re-runs of “Reba” and “What I Like About You” and, hell of hells, “Gilmore Girls” on volume level 500 every night for 3 hours. Allow me my time with the Allied and Axis powers every other afternoon on volume level 10 with out all the judgement. Thank you.

The only show in the history of T.V. that makes me want to commit violent crimes, and all of my roommates love it.
3. Dishes:
I am always doing the dishes. 
Don’t get me wrong, I actually LIKE to, but it would be a lot easier if my roommates didn’t leave things in pans and bowls to fester and cement for days before I finally get pissed enough to just do the dishes. Granted, they’ve been a lot better this semester, but everyone and a while they get bad again and I loose the faith I had been gaining in their ability to be the “clean freaks” they seem to think they are. (Newsflash: you’re not) 
I wouldn’t mind if they left me the dishes, but if they could just rinse them out before leaving them it would be a wonder. It takes all of 2 seconds after you cook something… the time for the food to cool down. Just rinse it out, give it a quick pass with the scrub brush and, volia! Happy Erin!
4. The Windows:
It’s summer (well, still early spring) here in Idaho and believe it or not the weather is actually VERY beautiful. I’m shocked beyond belief, but it’s true. It’s just heavenly outside.  In such weather, as I would assume most people do, I like to have the house open. Blinds open, windows open, door open…etc. just to keep things fresh and breezy. 
Not my roommates. 
Daily I come home to a cloister…the windows and blinds are shut and the apartment is boiling and smelling like the trash that hasn’t made it to the dumpster 3 days overdue (which I promptly take out in a huff and a puff of disapproval). It’s disgusting.  They talk and talk about how nice it is outside and how they should go to the park and bask in the sun (two of them are not in classes right now. It’s terrible) but they do nothing but sit inside, in the PJs watching TV breathing in stale, hot, smelly air.
I’m the phantom window opener… even after they’ve been shut 5 or 6 times in the hour I keep opening them. We’re not living in a quarantined building.
5. Social Obligations
I’m a fairly social person, but I’m also a stay-at-home sort of person.  I’m not looking to get married at 20 like everyone else around here so I don’t go out all that often. I have a busy school course load and Opera rehearsal about 4 times a week so when Friday and Saturday roll around I LIKE to sit at home and watch “Gone with the Wind” for the 342,623,243,672,456th time. I like the quiet, the peace. So, kind roommates, go have your fun, go get overdressed and overly made-up to go sit at the boy’s apartment and watch them play Garage Band for 3 hours and pretend like you’re not bored. I won’t judge you, so spare me the sympathetic “you’re so sad and friendless” looks you give me as you walk out the door. 9 times out of 10 I actually end up going over to someone’s house or having people over… so I really don’t sit at home all alone all night. But I also don’t sit alone and mope and cry and shove ice cream into my mouth and lament that I’m not pretending to act interested watching immature boys play Garage Band and fart at one another.
Spare me from that. And spare me you’re pity, I don’t need it.
P.S.
  I dearly love my roommates, I really do. They are wonderful girls, but living with anyone has their moments of “ups and downs”…so take it with a grain of salt.