There’s a scene from season five of The Big Bang Theory where Penny takes Leonard by the arm and drags him away for coitus. She tells him, “Don’t overthink this.” For that’s his way, to hack and slash at every little spontaneous thing and look for the why and the how and what for.
And on the 812th day, I stopped by the gas station after work and bought a pack of Camel Turkish Silvers. They aren’t the latest and greatest anymore so they had to dig behind a display rack to find them. The price had gone up about a quarter since I last bought a pack. Maybe more.
Actually, I’m lying. Embellishing. I didn’t really pay attention to what they cost these days. I just bought them.
Packed them against my palm and slid the cellophane off and pulled one out. I had time to back out. I’d done it twice before. Gotten a pack and pulled one out and then didn’t light it. This time, when I tried the lighter I keep tucked along the edge of my sunroof so it doesn’t rattle so much when I crank the stereo, it didn’t work. Just a series of ineffectual sparks. So I walked back in the store and bought a new Bic.
One flick and I was again a smoker.
The buzz came quick and I smoked another one almost immediately. And another that evening. And a couple the next morning.
I told my wife. Told my youngest daughter who noticed that the garage smelled like smoke. Some memories never fade. Even after 811 days. And then I asked her if she’d throw them in the trash for me. And to be sure to tear them up. Give them a good squish before tossing them. It hurt because I still wanted them. To just go back to smoking regularly again. Even as I write this, I want one.
I tried not to overthink it, as I have nearly every day since I quit. I didn’t think about the inevitable update I’d have to post. Because we have to report these things, right? Apologize.
I just reread that and I guess I did call it a promise. Was it to you? To me? My family? Am I now bound to carry it out?
I do this. I make big statements and try to accomplish big things. But I seldom follow through.
If I don’t, will you think less of me? Will the label “lacks integrity” become part of my character now? Will you remember this when I come to your mind?
And here I go doing it again. Caring what others think. Going further, having your thoughts for you. Telling you what you should think about when you think about me. Isn’t that the point of all this? Creating the face that we want others to see? Even if it’s a far cry from reality? Lacking compassion, or the benefit of the doubt?
You won’t forgive me because I won’t let you. Allow you that. You’ll hate me and judge me because I say so.
Not this time. Not at this moment, anyway. Maybe later. But for now, I’m going to try and not overthink this. I smoked. And then I quit again. And the world didn’t explode. I did not fail . . .