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Oct 18, 2005

Diary of a Smoker (Day Two)

12:46 p.m.

Mid-day. I didn't sleep too well last night at all. Got to bed around one o'clock, tossed and turned until I don't know when. My body's not used to the absence of the drug. However, I don't feel groggy today. Withdrawals aren't as bad today. I'm ancy, can't get my leg to stop shakin', but other than that, doing ok.

Oct 17, 2005

Diary of a Smoker (Day One)

12:54pm

So I decided to quit smoking.

I did something strange when I woke up today. My cigarettes came to mind immediately, after waking up slightly late. I knew I had four left in the pack, the pack that I meant to finish off yesterday so I could quit today. What to do, I thought. Maybe if I just smoked one and tossed the other three it would be ok.

The day wouldn't have felt complete if I did that, and I'd have to start over tomorrow. I've tried to lower my daily intake in the past, and it never works out well that way. So I have to cut this thing off, at the neck. I twisted the filters off of each of the four cigarettes, sending shreds of tobacco into the ashtray, rendering them useless.

Halfway through the day, I'm doing all right. I'm doing this cleanly: no drugs, no gum, no patch.

1:20 p.m.

Then it hits. The first wave ofwithdrawal of the day. A layer of sweat spreads across my forehead. My body warms. My clothes feel like they're tightening around me. I want to take them off, relieve myself of what feels like a clingy wrap. Need to cool down. But to smoking, I say no. And I say no again, and I close my eyes, and think "No."

2:46 p.m.

The first craving of the first day is in its final throes. I have conquered the first onslaught, though I only expect it will intensify. Then another wave comes. They drop by, often and irregular. I remember now know how difficult this will be.

11:21 p.m.

I can remember feeling, from about noon on, like I wanted to knock someone's head off. I'm not violent though so of course I didn't mean it literally. I was thinking though that Mais (one of my roommates) should hang up the punching bag inside the garage. This was the first day that I felt my day would become more difficult after getting home. Usually, I relax. Today I knew I'd be trying to avoid jumping in my car, picking up another pack. But this is already way too long.

Check-in at the end of the day shows that throughout the day cigarette consumption totals rest at: Zero Cigarettes. Ammo for tomorrow's Bloody Mary morning.

Oct 11, 2005

Reasons for Moving Pt. 1

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
--
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
--
We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.
--- "Keeping Things Whole" by Mark Strand ---


When I graduated kindergarten on the second of June, 1989, I was gifted a book entitled "The Little Prince," written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. The narrator recounts a time, six years prior, when he crashed his plane into the Desert of Sahara and came upon a tiny prince who came from a distant planet.

The story begins with the narrator speaking about his childhood, and how he loved to study primeval forests. Soon, he developed a love for drawing creatures he’d seen in pictures of forests. However, "grown-ups" would never correctly interpret his drawings, always mistaking his snakes for hats. This discouraged him, and soon he listened to the encouragement of adults, gave up painting to become a pilot, changing his course to study arithmetic, history, geography, English. As a young boy, this depressed him greatly and left a bitter taste in his mouth when it came to adults. The prince he meets reinvigorates his passion for the art he gave up in his childhood.

Recently I came upon this book, and it’s white cover with the drawing of the little prince standing on a grey planet has yellowed. There are splotches of brown, mold from old age, appearing in random spots. There is even more, spots of orange, along the binding on the inside. It had been sitting in a box somewhere in the corner of a basement for a long while. When I first opened the hard cover, I saw a pale creature the size of a pinhead creeping across the page towards my thumb.

When I was young, I had no problem reading. My comprehension level for language had been advanced for my age, though now I sit in line with many of my peers. They’d give all the kids yearly assessments in various categories, from math comprehension, science, listening and reading comprehension. I remember our metal desks with wooden flip-up tops, squared up in the middle of the classroom, facing the green chalk board. They’d hand us the Scantrons as well as a specified time to complete them. Year after year it was number two pencils and shading in ovals, either a,b,c,d, and as time passed, they often added extra options, an e and an f, sometimes more, all to compare with the results of my peers across the nation. By sixth grade, most of the scores lay in the ninety-ninth percentile, and placed me amongst highschool students.

Looking back, maybe that’s why school seemed such a bore for a good, long time. I found other outlets at a young age, one’s that I believe pushed my learning along. Reading and music instantly became methods of escape. To be continued . . .