now progress takes away what forever took to find

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. 

811 days.

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. 

Do what we said we would.

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 . . .

27 thoughts on “now progress takes away what forever took to find

  1. Try not to be so hard on yourself, dear Brian. We all make mistakes.

    1. And yet, I don’t really think of it as a mistake. I chose to do it. No right or wrong, I guess. Perhaps if I had lived more of my life thinking of things as simply choices and not right or wrong, I’d be a different, and better, person . . .

      1. fair enough. you did it. it’s done. move on. how ’bout that? 🙂

        1. That’ll work. And did I sound all snippy? Reading back, I guess maybe I did. Sorry . . .

  2. You dont delete. You said you would, but you dont need to. Because when you DID need to, you would have. 811, 812. We are fallible. We are human. Its natural to say “Was what I gave up good? Would I miss it? Would it be the same?” Take marriage. We stay monogamous. But at some point, one may – or has to think – “What would it have been like if?” or “If I, would it be as..???” So you did. You went, you did. You thought. You learned. You stopped. To destroy EVERYTHING for one exploration? Meh. That seems arrogant.

    You usedto love it.
    You gave it up.
    You wanted to see if you still loved it.
    You do.
    And now you know.
    So move on.

    1. Thanks, Deb. Love it that you still visit and read. And that you get it . . .

  3. Not being a smoker I don’t have a direct basis for comparison. Being on Weight Watchers since January say that I can empathize a little. The first 20 pounds came quick,as did the complements on my new exterior. Yes, I did cheat a little here and there. Some days I’d willingly jump off the wagon on to a passing ice cream truck (not literally, but one gets the idea) and there was no real effect. I was still losing. It. Was. Awesome!

    Then I hit the proverbial wall. You know, that one where they say your body is trying to get back to its old weight. I’d weigh one week and I’d be there, then the next I was 2-3 pounds heavier. What the heck? I began biking to work once or twice a week. No real change. I’ve been unable to break the 240 mark since June.

    Hang in there ‘cuz. We can do this.

    1. Yeah. I get the weight struggle. Some say I cheated by having weight loss surgery. Maybe I did. And not being able to eat constantly is surely what led to me starting to smoke regularly. I needed something to do with my hands. In public. And juggling didn’t cut it. Yes. Hang in there. You will do it, Doctor D . . .

  4. Here’s the deal. You made a choice to take a sidestep off the path into the mud. Now you can keep walking in the mud or get back on the path again. Knowing you, it is back on the path. Eventually, you may decide to get your feet muddy again sometime down that path. Know what? That makes us human. We aren’t perfect. Don’t dwell on it. Just go back to a new day and a new start. 😉

  5. Well, I wil continue to call you Son, BJ, Bud or whatever I come up with that time, but I believe that I will use Son. That stated 43 years ago, soon 44 years. You know what? your weight, your getting married, making me a grandpa or even you smoking never stopped that. And you know what else? your picking up a smoke isn’t going to change that. Love you Leonard.

    1. I only wish I was a cool as Leonard . . .

      1. Leonard, doesn’t hold a candle to you Son!!! You have him out classed and oh so much smarter.

  6. I’m not overthinking this. Just another day in the Life of Brian.

  7. You can’t tell me how to think! I do my own thinking, thankyouverymuch. Ironic that your confession comes on the heels of 2 nights in a smokey non-smoking hotel room. Seriously, so offensive I had to wash the clothes I didn’t wear, because everything reeked.

    My date is June 10, 2004. I started in ’80, when I was 15. I was addicted immediately. And, I liked smoking. I never even tried to quit, knowing that I would when I was good and ready. Then, one day, I was. So I did. And it was hard.

    It helps for me to remember how much I hate the smell of stale ashtrays, and scars on furniture, countertops, bathtubs, etc. from forgotten cigarettes, left burning unattended. I hated the panic that came when a cherry blew off while I was cruising down the highway, with the window cracked to help ventilate my car. A burn on the leather rear seat of my Mustang serves as a reminder of that sort of good time. I don’t miss the cough, the mess, the tar and nicotine stains, the labored breathing when I climbed 2 flights of stairs, the complaints (and guilt) from my children.

    Maybe I’ve never lit up again because I don’t want to have to quit again. I’m not sure I could smoke 4, then hand off the pack to be destroyed. I’m proud of you for confessing and moving on. Let’s put this behind us.

    1. Fran, you are always an inspiration to me. Thank you . . .

  8. One step at a time and one day at a time is sometimes the only way to do it and that is ok. It works.

    1. Thanks, Jack. This one day at a time thing is so hard. Not the way I think or act, most of the time. Glad to have you in my corner . . .

      1. I hear you. It is hard to be patient. When there is a challenge I like to rush out and confront it, but some situations can’t be handled that way.

  9. I love your italics here. What is in italics, I guess I mean. You do not have to apologise for anything. But you know that, really. Sometimes you need to give in a little to keep going.

    1. Indeed. One day at a freaking time . . .

  10. Oh Brian – like the rest of us out here you are human with strengths and fallibilities that go along with that condition. You are again choosing to do what makes you feel good about yourself and seem to keep at the forefront what is important to you. Atta Boy! As it is said in the Catholic pulpit – “confession is good for the soul”,- I think this blog entry is your penance, so carry onward and upward. Fallen Catholic G

    1. Thanks so much, and it’s good to rub digital shoulders with you again. Glad you are well . . .

  11. Yikes. I’ve been scared for a long time that you WOULD delete this blog. I hope you don’t. I like the way you see things, describe things, care about things. I would hate to lose that voice. Thanks for the confession – I doubt there’s a single quitter out there who hasn’t gone back a few (hundred) times – it helps to know that someone you admire also has setbacks. I do admire you.

    Tell ya what. Last time I tried to smoke (because dammit, I deserved it!) – it made me sick. So there did eventually come a point where my body didn’t like it, although I still feel a very strong connection to smoking. And sometimes wish I still smoked. But it’s been eleven years and the mind/body have overpowered the emotions.

    Instead of deleting the blog, how about deleting the ugly judgmental voice in your head? I’d like to beat up that bastard. The difference between breaking up with a lover and breaking up with smoking is that you’re never sure the lover would take you back.I picture my cigarettes as a friend out in California that I keep meaning to go visit when it’s convenient.

    Good vibes,

    1. Thank you, Kay. There are people you want in your corner, and you’ve always been that for me . . .

  12. One of my favorite bits of advice that I ever received was, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It applies in a lot of situations, including this one. Sure, it sucks to have spoiled a perfect record, but I know you’re not gonna let this little slip-up keep you from trying again and keep on keeping on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close