Quit day was Sunday. I keep reminding myself of this because days, dates and maths have never been my strong point. I am officially a quitter, an ex-smoker. More to the point, I am a quitter with an incredibly sore throat which seemed very unfair. What is this? I should be running 3 minute miles, not mainlining Strepsils.
The last few days in between work, I’ve mostly hidden away in my flat watching films and eating Club biscuits, hiding from the cravings I know are just waiting for me. I expect to get very, very fat in the next month and wallow on the beach like some kind of bouncy castle, albeit one with amazing lung capacity. “Remember, each cigarette is a habit,” boomed Carmen from inside my head. “Find out when you are likely to have a cigarette and do something else instead.”
For me, it’s socialising and boredom. Yesterday I managed to unchain myself from the protective shelter of my sofa for an hour to explore the Regents Canal and managed to suppress any desire for cigarettes by staying well clear of the pub and eating frozen Frubes instead.
It’s very much the calm before the nicotine-laced storm. I feel like I’m limbering up for a marathon, or how anyone stupid enough to run a marathon might feel: extremely on edge and slightly panicky. I’ve cancelled all invites, plans and fun to stay in the house this week, but some point a gig will turn up, and I associate gigs with smoking (an amazing way to look interested when watching suicidally awful support bands) while Saturday holds a mandatory wedding party that will test my ability to hide in cushions to its absolute limit. The blessèd Carmen says I should get an inhalator to have something to fiddle with.
“You realise they taste of herpes?” said one friend distressingly (and God I hope imaginatively). “How ironic, and just when your taste buds are coming back to full power.”
What I wanted to say was, “Actually Brian, by the time I emerge from my self-imposed hibernation I imagine everyone in town will be chewing on them like Mars Bars,” but all that came out was Club crumbs. Three days down, now it’s just the rest of my life to go – nothing like baby steps.