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Quitting Time

2023 | Marker & Digital

I miss cigarettes because smoking itself is wonderful. Carrying around, for a few minutes at least, a small controlled fire is magical. It’s a small, physical reality and mental concept that seems very much like a symbol of the industrial revolution. The appropriate drug, delivery, process, and action for the world that required it. Tobacco but stripped of its natural qualities and reduced to a simple function or transaction.

Cigarettes are a method of smoking–and there is something about their origin and relavance to both industrial and pop culture–but the actual joy of smoking is another process.

And that’s why I miss their momentary ability to introduce that small, physical reality to my day. Besides the nested, contemplative sense that as the smoke rises so do my thoughts and wishes to the world–this magical representation that occurs wherever there’s any kind of ritualized smoke–but it renders the process of respiration visible.

The world has to touch you on the inside, continuously, in order for you to experience it. This engagement is not voluntary. And while smoke damages this process it’s also a doping agent you can add to the process to actually make it visible.

The longest you can disengage with the process of respiration is however long you can hold your breath. Your body is forced, by it’s function, to engage with the constituents of the air around you. And you, by decision, can illustrate the process.

I quit in 2014.

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