Home > Bitching, Depressing, Disgusting, Silliness > The Time I Envied Smokers

The Time I Envied Smokers

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

People are always telling me that I would make a great smoker.

Now, I do not smoke.  Sure, there was the furtive cigarette or two in middle school, which eventually progressed to the “I only smoke while drinking” excuse in high school. But after seeing my grandmother forced to carry around a bulky nebulizer on wheels after decades of cigarettes, I decided to go cold turkey. I thought of myself as a kind of crusader for the anti-smoking movement, though this meant I was just insufferable to…well, everyone, pretty much.

When I moved to New York, I loved the smoke-free environments created in bars, restaurants, and clubs. But I was left sitting awkwardly at an empty table while all my friends left to go into the bitter outdoors every 15 minutes.

The act of standing outside, exposed to the elements, seemed to foster a kind of camaraderie in those smokers. Lighting up became an act of defiance in an increasingly sterile world.

Also, it was a great way to bitch.

I am something of a champion complainer. Having honed my art from a young age, I can find the downside in every situation. No silver lining goes unmarred, no pleasant day at the beach is complete until I’m huddled beneath a massive umbrella, muttering to myself about cancer. Every meal is a chance for indigestion, and every passing taxi is a hunk of metal that could potentially end my life. Few people can put up with the endless worry I spew, and those that can quickly develop nearly infinite patience. Though not really raised Jewish (my family lit the menorah under the Christmas tree), apparently blood doesn’t lie, and I can kvetch with the best of them.

Apparently, feeling like the world is against you is just the right attitude for a smoker to adopt. Instead of bitching alone to myself, I could have a group of like-minded individuals brought together by perceived persecution. Once an hour, I could leave work, bundle myself up, and enjoy a good ten minutes of solid grumbling against a shadowy establishment designed to make my life miserable.* Finally, my empty complaints would have merit, at least within the brotherhood of smokers.

Well, if only I could get myself to light up.

*I obviously don’t actually know what goes on in these smoking circles. I’m betting it’s just office gossip, but it’s more entertaining to think of people plotting the downfall of the Surgeon General.

  1. August 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Oh. I have to maybe burst your bubble a little bit. I’m the non-smoker who hangs out in the smoking circles because everyone left me at the table and I got lonely. Pretty much, the smoking circle gripes about the weather (because there is no good smoking weather, apparently) and continues with the conversation that was going on at the table.
    You’ve actually probably noticed that when your smoking circle returned to said table and the conversation had somehow moved forward a few inches without you being involved, just enough to be puzzling and make you wonder if that last beer was one too many. Now you know why that happens.

    • August 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      And here I was hoping they were discussing Sartre or something. Lame.

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