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Shut Up, Ghandi

Breakups suck, but the worst kind is the one where you still desperately love your ex.
Quitting smoking was to me like breaking up with a really hot but mean boyfriend: you know he’s bad for you, but he makes you feel gorgeous, helps you unwind after a long day, likes you to hold him when you’re at a nightclub, especially when he wears that leather jacket…

I recently made the heartbreaking decision to quit the supposedly nasty habit (yeah, yeah, all you doctors out there, spare me the research data).

Most people who know me are always shocked that I smoke and squeak “Noooooooooooooooo!” in slow-motion when they see me holding a cigarette.
“Don’t worry,” I assure them, “I don’t inhale.”

I guess because I work out regularly and eat fruit every two months or so, people automatically believe that I’m a health freak.
Note: I think of butter as a food group on its own, one that should be ingested on a daily basis. If you knew me better, you’d know that I’m a highly addictive person, as evident by my unreasonable intake of sugar, coffee and a shoe collection that spans across three continents (I kid you not).

After a few months of coughing like an old man (there’s nothing sexier than that sound in the morning), I decided to go Cold Turkey on New Year’s Day as one of my overambitious 2010 resolutions.
Then a very evil friend of mine (let’s call him Rami) ruined my plans by buying me two boxes of my favorite Dunhill Blues.
“Quit as soon as you’re done smoking them,” he smiled evilly.

Two months and many happy cigarette hours later, I once again decided that I was done with nicotine. It may have something to do with the offer my genius flat mate made me: “Quit smoking and I’ll buy you a swanky mixer.”
This may not mean much to you, but if you’re a foodist like me, getting a new mixer is like a new flat-screen TV (read my next blog).

It also may have something to do with the fact that I like running, but I recently found myself lagging behind a fat Chinese kid on the jogging track. If a fat Chinese kid can outrun you, you might as well be dead.

My friends have split into three alliances:
First, there are the Semi Supporters, who tell me they’re proud of me quitting, yet they sneakily continue to smoke, which makes me suspect they don’t quite mean it from the heart.
Then there’s the Evil Coercers, who keep trying to seduce me back into their smoking clique by offering me cigarettes and seductively blowing smoke in my face. I understand: nicotine, like misery, loves company, and there’s nothing quite like that special cigarette you share with a friend on the balcony after a good meal.
Then, there’ are the Holy and Pure friends who don’t smoke/drink caffeine/eat fatty foods/curse/double park and like to save animals in their spare time. These friends give me regular pep-talks (high-fives and all), and whenever I’m tempted to smoke, they urge me to eat a cucumber or save a tree or something.
Right.

Much to my dismay, I discovered that smoking had made me a relaxed and easygoing person, and taking the nicotine away had turned me into Godzilla on crack. With rage issues that no Jack Nicholson could cure.

Day One: Woke up from a beautiful dream about me inhaling my cigarette in slow motion, hair blowing back in the gentle breeze, the theme from Love Story playing in the background. Got teary eyed when I realized it was only a dream.

Day Two: WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DRIVING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, LADY?

Day Three: found myself scratching my arm like a crack addict when my friend lit her cigarette next to me. Made her blow smoke my way so that I could inhale some of it. I said I’d quit SMOKING, never promised anything about second-hand smoke.

Day Four: Is it just me or have Men who Smoke suddenly become sexy? The minute a guy lights a cigarette, even if it’s a random stranger on the street, I perk up and think ‘Ooooh, ‘Ellooo!’

Day Five: I now completely sympathize with cranky, nicotine-starved taxi drivers during Ramadan. I have all the withdrawal symptoms: headache, severely short temper, road rage, fatigue, inability to tolerate cheerful friends.

Day Seven: I eat too much chocolate to compensate for lack of nicotine. Great. Now have to quit chocolate AND cigarettes.

Day Nine: And Coffee.

Day Fourteen: I don’t understand why people say I’m intimidating, or duck whenever I pick up a sharp object. I feel completely fine. Can’t seem to stop my leg from twitching, though.

Day Seventeen: Non-smoking Friend, a member of the Holy and Pure that I like to call Ghandi because she thinks the world will be a better place if we hold hands and sing Disney Classics, smiled at me today and said
“Don’t you feel sooo much better now that you don’t have that toxic nicotine in your body? Now you can do anything you put your mind to; you can climb mountains if you want!”
Shut up Ghandi. I’m absolutely miserable.

Day Eighteen: Realized it’s almost three weeks since I quit smoking. Decided to celebrate by having a cigarette. I am so proud of myself.

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