The writer Leo Tolstoy once, in his savage indictment on the institution of marriage by way of his novella The Kreutzer Sonata, said that both marriage and cigarettes were extremely similar in the sense that they were both terrible habits that one couldn't kick.
Tolstoy himself found it hard to give up cigarettes all his life and if my memory serves me correctly, his biographer Rosamund Bartlett said that he never quite kicked it.
Tobacco smoking is something that I absolutely loathed and hated the first time I tried it but which twenty eight years later I have a complicated relationship with. I loathe it, I love it. I loathe it, no really I do, but ah, I love it. The sting of a cigarette, the small groups of outlaws that band together to smoke, the behind the curtain at that fancy hotel in West Hollywood smoking, the intimate conversation over a cigarette. Then there is the loaning out of cigarettes which starts a conversation, the borrowing of a lighter, the handing back of a lighter, the can I now borrow a cigarette and of course the 'we've run out of cigarettes, who wants to come in the car to go get more' followed by a private conversation. Those who smoke know or understand the same world created by cocaine users who make small and private spaces and close and open worlds to people depending on how the evening goes.Continue reading