Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sister Nicotine

Does anyone remember Sartre likening a woman's naughty bits to "a gaping mouth that devours the man?" I can't find the exact quote, but this is the gist of his lovely sentiment and will have to do for now: The obscenity of the feminine sex is that of everything which 'gapes' open.

Nice, right? Geesh. Like it really helps to ponder stuff like that. Anyway, there's nothing new about the analogy of eating/ingesting=wanting to possess/be one with something. Case in point #1: Robert Smith singing "I could eat your face" in "Dressing Up." Case in point #2, and in my biz I see this a lot: "That kitten is so cute I could just eat him." Case in point #3, smoking. Which I haven't thought about in years, really, until last Saturday when a woman on the street asked me if I had a cigarette. Why'd she ask ME? Could she see the ghostly puff-puff cloud of a Parliament surrounding me? Or did I, in my flip flops and jeans with a hole in the knee, look like someone who didn't care enough not to poison themselves? Or did I just look helpful and smiley?

I first started smoking (Benson & Hedges Ultralights!) during the summer before college, and I didn't even know how to inhale. That's the time when you're all free to start your life, and instead of getting drunk and puking all over the place like the rest of my classmates did, I would go to clubs and dance all night long to really bad music, drinking only water and every once in awhile blowing out smoke like some sort of stuttering teapot. I really didn't care, because it was really all about the shiny gold packaging, and I thought they were just so freakin' pretty, all soft and white like women's arms. (Well, women's arms in a film noir.) And I was like the biggest poseur around (see what you did, Mrs. B!), so it's no wonder I cottoned on to it. And besides, look who else did it, too..

Nicotine's a nasty b*tch, but she has her charms for the vain. You can eat all the ice cream you want (and, ahem, bowls of fresh whipped cream) and still weigh less than you would if you were on a diet. But really, I can't tell you how decadent is the slide and glide when a match is struck, the bump and suck of a cigarette being lit. My dirty old loves, 20 to a pack and only wanting to be held gently between my fingers. The inhale, the exhale.

Inhale and exhale?!!! Ah, so maybe that's what making me so bird-mad and causing me to listen to "Sister Morphine" for the, as I write this, 13th time in a row.

Tonight I did this breathing practice in yoga that I'd never done before, and it totally made me all high, way better than nicotine ever could. You exhale and then plie (yeah, i'm adding a little ballet in here, why not?) while your abdominals go up against the wall with your spine, and then you do this rapid abdominal flappy thing. OMG! It was nuts! My hip creases got all tingly and I felt like I was on fire. I LOVE this stuff! Talk to me about subtle energy centers and burning up toxins and opening your heart and it makes me so happy I have to laugh. Well, actually I couldn't laugh, 'cause I was retaining my breath. And what does this have to do with Parliaments?

Well, if yogic breathing and smoking are in the Inhale Exhale family, then smoking is like the inbred cousin who plays dueling banjos in Deliverance. And the first time I tried that practice--the standard version, not with the abdominal flapping thing--was probably like 7 or 8 or so years ago, right before I went cold turkey for the 2nd time, and I must not have had the lung capacity or ab strength or otherwise not been ready to do it, 'cause it released something that got me all agitated and crankadelic for like 5 hours and think I even had a nasty confrontation in the laundry room. I was "cutting back," in the hopes that my nicotine addiction would sort of just fade away. It was basically torture--10 a day, down to 5 a day, down to 1 a day, down to 1 every other day, down to 1 cigarette 3 times a week, down to 1 a week, down to 1 every 2 weeks, down to 1 a month…No, dudes, I'm not kidding, I'm pretty embarrassed to say. I even marked it on the calendar and everything.

I'll save the phlegmy details for another post, but nicotine, the best thing I ever did was kick your honky a$$ to the curb long ago. You try uddiyana bandha and tell me how it goes. You don't even have abs!

Why you should not smoke:

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