Yesterday, we laughed at a short video that showed the lengths to which one character would go for a cigarette, and just how miserable he was when he couldn't have one.
Smokers watching that video probably have some empathy for the poor guy, one thing after another keeping him from a simple cigarette.
I quit smoking a week and a half ago now, and I'll tell you what. I am sooo glad to be in a position where I don't need to feel that empathy, nor get anxious way in the back of my mind and go stock up on matches just in case. I actually don't even know where the nearest pack of matches is right now, and I'm quite comfortable with this. Things are as they should be.
It wasn't always like this. I was BSing with some of the guys last night, and recalled a true story I had long forgotten.
To all the kids and teenagers reading this, BS stands for "Be Smart." As in don't smoke because it makes you behave like a stupid person.
This story is my own, and its telling is actually surprisingly short. In fact, we've probably already gotten through the longest part of its recounting, and I haven't even started yet.
Around ten years ago, I ended up with a temp job at this place where they stored all kinds of computer parts, and built, repaired and customized computers and related stuff. Since there were many small, yet valuable items present, everybody had to go through a metal detector on the way into and out of the building.
It was very much like the setup at the airport; Pockets got emptied onto a conveyor belt, which brought the items through a scanner, along with any lunches, briefcases, purses or whatever. The employee walked through a larger scanner, and if necessary the operator would use a handheld wand to detect if it were a belt buckle or a pin in somebody's elbow setting the thing off.
It was a good idea to show up at this place early, and there wasn't much chance of beating any traffic on the way out.
Everybody was entitled to a half-hour for lunch in the middle of the day, a fifteen minute break in the morning and another 15 in the afternoon. Everybody took these breaks at the same time, as was determined by company policy.
Due to the amount of time it took to move everybody through the metal detector, nobody was permitted to leave the building during either of the fifteen minute breaks. See where we're going? That's right, they didn't allow smoking anywhere inside either.
As a smoker, those fifteen minute breaks are cigarette breaks. That's just what they are. You might grab a coffee or a snack, but would do so as quickly as possible without hurting yourself, so as not to shave any more time off of your cigarette break than necessary. So to my mind, these bastards were basically telling me to take a smoke break, except I couldn't smoke.
After my initial reaction of being upset, I asked for some kind of consideration, and indicated that I would certainly be flexible toward whatever suggestions would allow me my precious cigarette. There were around 20 other smokers employed there as well, and I was assured that there were no special arrangements to be had.
What do you think I did?
I didn't do anything. I just let the anger build up for about a week. Then I had a crappy day, and when the bell rang for our smoke break, I tried one more time to get someone to hear my plight. No dice.
So I quit. Perfectly good job, and I quit before I even got my first paycheck. On top of that, I got two others to quit with me. Yup, we sure showed them. That's the hold these things get over us.
Fortunately, I ended up able to afford to feed myself for long enough to tell this tale today, but is that the stupidest thing you've ever heard or what?