A Big Disappointment

I had taken up smoking again. And not only was I smoking again, I was caught smoking in the middle of the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. The nurse came in shouting at me with half my family trailing scornfully behind her. There was even talk about a lawsuit and charges being pressed for smoking in a restricted area. My mother, uncles, aunts, brothers, cousins, everybody glared and shook their heads at me. I tried to stamp the cigarette out under my heel on the white tile floor. I tried to explain myself. I tried to tell them that it was just the one pack, and that once it was gone, I could quit just as easily as I did before. But every word came out like the feeble excuse that it was.

I slipped away from them and out into the parking-garage that adjoined the building. It was evening, just beginning to get dark out. I knew there was nothing waiting for me at home but long lectures, distressed sighs, and bitter recriminations. Down at the curb in front of the hospital, there was a black-haired girl in a light blue 65 Mustang convertible. She offered me a ride away from all of this. I accepted eagerly, and we were off down country roads that unwound in the headlights and sharp lashes of wind in the open air. I clicked on the radio and the dial glowed gold and there was a warm hum and then all the old songs were there.


5 thoughts on “A Big Disappointment

  1. I don't see any disappointment in this, but an heroic defiance of time ending with the fugitive's successful escape into a fictional world where simple joys are not censored.

    Walter Mitty brought up to date & rides again, in 250 words.


  2. I guess I was the disappointment. I quit smoking about four years ago, and I still think about it sometimes, but the thought of getting a reaction like the one in the dream here tends to make me reconsider (as well as the thought of disappointing myself — and the detriments to my health as well, of course.)

    I do like the way this dream ended, however, as though I'd slipped the venue of this dream of anxiety and insecurity, and just rode off into another dream entirely.


  3. OK, I get it now. Yesterday I received a book I'd ordered from the States though it was written by an English fellow-blogger, Peter Ashley. See http://unmitigatedengland.blogspot.co.uk/ and check out his book as advertised there: “The Cigarette Papers: a Eulogy for the Cigarette Packet in Anecdote and Literature”.

    It is wonderful, in its capacity to crystallize smoking into a realm of nostalgia and fantasy, and thus help transform the residual urge for the drug itself into harmless imagination – which is exactly what your dream did and does.

    My post here grasped at the same idea http://perpetual-lab.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/on-fresh-air-alone.html : that one can get the retrospective high without inhaling the nicotine, have the wet dream without taking oneself literally in hand.

    Anyhow, that book was my secret indulgence, a birthday gift to myself. But I've reached that blessed state of no longer being interested in the actual tobacco, and wish the same for you.


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