Flavor Country.

So I quit smoking about two weeks, four days, seventeen hours, twenty-two minutes and thirty-one seconds ago, and let me tell ya, it’s been great. Not exactly what I was expecting, but still really great and terrific and I would never go back to smoking because it’s a filthy disgusting habit that makes me want to puke. I can’t believe I smoked before. What was I thinking? However, even though it’s really amazing not to smoke anymore, I have to admit it’s been hard to fight the good fight as they say, so I figured I’d share observations of my own experience, both to support others who would like to join me in breaking the cycle of hideous ritual self-abuse that is smoking, and to encourage others who’ve already quit to share their own war stories and flash their battle scars at me, their shiny pink button-like cigarette burn-scars, just to give me a point of reference, so I know I’m not going batshit insane. Because that would be great!

It’s not like I think I’m having some completely one-of-a-kind withdrawal or anything. Most of the cliches I’ve heard are present. Man, they are so true! Like that whole “regaining the senses of taste and smell” thing? Did everyone else already know that celery actually has its own unique taste? It’s not a particularly strong taste, and it’s not good, but it’s there. Wonder of wonders! And I always thought the whole point of deodorant was to create a waxy or jellied vapor barrier between you and offensive sweat-eating bacteria, like chap stick for your armpits. But deodorant smells like things! Amazing magical fantastical things! Like “Ice” and “Fresh” and “Cool” and “Sport Talc”! Deodorant makes a lot more sense now that I’ve stopped smoking. On the down side, I’ve noticed that cigarettes have a smell too, even when they’re not lit. A taunting delicious smell. I’ve verified this repeatedly, because if I don’t light one of those goddamn cancer sticks, it’s not smoking. Nothing you do with a cigarette is smoking unless you light it and inhale. Would-be quitters of smoking, take note. Also, as an addendum to that note, cigarettes do not taste as good as they smell. Cigarettes are like coffee that way. However, if you eat a pack or three, you will calm down. And then throw up.

I haven’t gained any weight since I quit, but I think it’s because I’m staying busy and not using food as a replacement for smoking. (But as you read, I have used cigarettes as a replacement for food. Ha ha! Irony.) I have a lot of stuff I need to do. Almost every single thing in my house is not quite in the right place. I’m having to adjust the position of everything, sometimes two or three times, then I have to record it all in my position journal. Then later, when I do my next hourly rounds, I sometimes have to readjust everything again. Even the things in cabinets and drawers. I don’t know how I had time to get it all done when I was wasting my entire life away going outside to smoke so I didn’t coat the walls of every room in brown goo, one of the filthy filthy byproducts of smoking.

And of course my health is better now. I don’t break a sweat sitting up in bed anymore. And that invisible vice that crushed my ribcage every time I climbed more than three stairs is gone, thank goodness. That thing was such a pain. Also, it’s easier for me to sneak up on people now that I’m not constantly wheezing. My neighbors used to complain about the noise, but not anymore! Now they complain I’m too quiet! Especially when I’m standing over their beds in the middle of the night after forcing open a window! (I just wanted to make sure their condiments and cleaning products were properly alphabetized.) Jeez, some people are never happy! Maybe they should quit smoking!

There are other improvements I didn’t expect. For example, I can read much faster now. Probably an order of magnitude faster. I can finish a five hundred page book in two hours. I’m just burning through them. And I must’ve had a really bad attitude while I was poisoning myself with the Demon Weed That Isn’t Marijuana, because everything I read now is AWESOME. Especially when I finish it, grind it into the floor and then throw it across the room onto the pile with the other books I’ve finished. Also, I think smoking weakened the muscles in my fingers because I seem to be ripping a lot of the pages by accident. Speed might be a factor in that too. I read so fast! Magazines? Don’t get me started! After I read a magazine, there’s nothing left to throw across the room. Just dark smudges on my hands and a ring of ashes on the floor.

My eyesight’s improving. I keep finding new stains that I never cleaned up while I was a slave to Lady Nicotine. They are stubborn ones too. I scrub and scrub and scrub but they just don’t want to leave. I make them leave though, even if I have to throw the couch out the window! Don’t worry, I open the window first. And I break the couch up into small pieces with a crowbar. Gotta help save this planet, y’know?

You know that ninja trick where you catch a fly with chopsticks? Bet you think it’s fake. WRONG! I do it all the time, when I’m not readjusting the positions of my silverware so they point to magnetic north. Of course now the fly is dead, because I caught it so many times, so I have to throw it up in the air, and that’s a bit predictable.  I need a new fly. A faster one. Faster and smaller. And I can bite through metal now. Pretty thick metal too. I coughed up the tines of a salad fork yesterday. Didn’t even know I’d eaten a salad. Today I tested myself on a piece of aluminum siding, and then on a skillet.  The result? Let’s just say I need a new skillet, and my next-door neighbor isn’t very happy with me.

I’ve discovered a new emotion. I call it “meta-angry.” I prefer it to the inexplicable crying jags I find myself enduring, without warning, several times a day. Usually I don’t remember the transition from being happy or sad or regular-angry into being meta-angry. I also don’t remember curling into a fetal ball and screaming random place names, but I seem to be doing that quite often too.

I wake up in the middle of the night covered in blood. I don’t seem to be wounded in any way, but there’s a lot of blood all over me. Is that typical of quitting cigarettes cold turkey? How long can I expect to continue waking up in the middle of the night covered in blood? Two weeks? Three? Does it have to do with the nicotine and other toxins leaving my system?

Aww… I’m just kidding.

I didn’t just quit smoking. I’ve never smoked.

So if anyone has ideas on why all these things are happening to me, I’d really appreciate them.

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