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I want to break free

16 Apr

I have smoked exactly two thirds of my life: twenty-eight years. It’s high time I stopped. So I stopped.

It’s been only five days but that’s the longest I’ve achieved ever, so there is cause to celebrate.

The decision had been years in the making. Friends and family have persisted over the years and my son recently joined the lecturing bandwagon. I’m thankful because I was impervious! Much as they annoyed me, they were right and I knew it. Slowly I was getting closer to commitment: Quitting is the right thing to do, therefore submit.

I was brought closer to the decision last month by the prospect of tobacco deprivation at airports, during long flights –and basically of limited freedom to smoke–, as I prepared for a 24-hour or so journey to a two-day meeting, followed by a 24-hour or so journey back home. The actual trigger was the epiphany that struck me as I thought I was at last free to go smoke between two flights: that is not freedom, that is (nicotine) enslavement.

In “The Easy Way To Stop Smoking”, the book my good friend Amy gave me years ago, Allen Carr writes:

“It is […] slavery. We spend half our lives in situations in which society forbids us to smoke (churches, hospitals, schools, trains, theaters, and the like) or […] feeling deprived. The rest of our smoking lives is spent in situations where we are allowed to smoke, but wish we didn’t have to.”

I smoked my last cigarette Tuesday after dinner and patched up the next morning. I’ve got lozenges for when the craving is too intense but I don’t like them too much so don’t use them a lot.

The worse day was the day before I stopped.

I had made up my mind, purchased the patches and the lozenges at the pharmacy after picking up my son after school. I was still smoking as my pouch of tobacco was not yet empty –it took me another day to finish it as I let it drag on as much as possible by rolling thinner ones and smoking less.

The second worse day was the third. Possibly because I had not used a patch that morning. Good to know they are not selling squares of adhesive tape!

A couple parting thoughts:

  • Not lighting up is hard, but not as hard now that I have decided to stop.
  • Time goes quite slowly in the process.
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Oh the irony

31 Aug
I’m a bit edgy today so I decided I’d had my share of coffee. I went for herbal tea instead. A colleague remarked the oddity and I explained anxiety kicked in every time I was looking at my todo today, hence the herbal tea. On my way back a door burst open right next to me. Instant panic! My hand flew, spilling the burning content of my cup of tea in the air in front and on the carpet. At least, nobody was injured.

Speed(ing ticket)!

24 Aug
I drive fast, probably in response to my dad’s unbearably slow driving habit. Or simply perhaps because I like it. I feel I have to say I’m prudent and I’ve never been in an accident. I’ve been driving for 13 years.

Last week there was a Gendarmerie unmarked car parked on the side of the road, with a small radar attached at the back of it, to measure I was above the speed limit. The flash shone just as I was realizing what the suspicious protuberance at the back of the car might me. I had no idea how fast I was driving, and there was no other car in front or behind to give me some perspective on speed. I felt I was driving at a reasonable speed :)

A week later I received by post the “avis de contravention au code de la route”. 97 km/h (60 mph). That is 7 km/h (4 mph) above the limit. The fine is EUr 68 but only EUR 45 if I pay within 2 weeks. If I don’t pay within 45 days, then it’s EUR 180.

So I’ve been thinking about speed, speed limit, common good sense and that kind of things.

My denial of responsibility didn’t last long, but my first reaction was to find somebody to blame for the flash. And that was the person I had been stuck behind for too long, right before I was able to pass them and speed up a bit. This guy was driving well below the speed limit. I’ve always been pretty annoyed with people driving below the speed limit, now they *upset* me.

I thought also that I was disappointed (ashamed, even) to enter the public record for such an unremarkable performance! It’s possible that my speedometer indicated I was driving as fast as 110 km/h. But still. I was reminded of the French comics “Joe Barr Team”. One of the bikers brings his ticket to the police, visibly unhappy, telling them their friggin’ radar is borken. He was driving way faster in that curve :) No, really, it’s disappointing. Especially considering I could have driven up to 20 km/h above the limit for the same fine!

o-ring

30 Mar
The o-ring of my Bialetti moka express maker changed shaped last night. It’s no longer usable. For a few month it had been “moribund” but usable. And I *used* it. Average of 3 pots per day.

I have had this Bialetti coffee maker for 2 years, now. I got is second (at least) hand, in New-Zealand, early in the trip.

I am attached to this coffee maker, for a number of reasons. So I will resume looking for a spankin’ new o-ring. Last time I tried, a few months ago, I wasn’t so successful. I almost purchased a whole set in the shop of a purveyor of Italian goods and delicacies in Roslindale. They didn’t have the 4-cup model. Otherwhise I’d have got it just for the ring.

Update:I found o-rings in France, I brought them with me, and I’m happy to report they fit perfectly. I think it’s neat.