Monday, January 16, 2006

Days I wish I smoked...

My sister started referring to bad days or stressful days as “days she wished she smoked”. And my sister has a very lovely, covered back deck that would be perfect for smoking. I think Katherine using this phrase hearkens back to our grandma. Grandma smoked. Grandma tried to quit on numerous occasions but every time she tried to quit, Grandpa would be there, asking her if she wanted a cigarette. I always felt bad for Grandma when she was trying to quit because Grandpa didn’t help at all.

Grandma was a great seamstress. She made us quilts, dresses, dolls, you name it, she could sew it. I remember her making a dress for me when I was in first grade. She made a matching dress for my favorite doll, baby Ann. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. Grandma was also a great cook. But, Grandma was a bit high strung (is that the word for it) or maybe it’s better to say that she would get stressed out pretty easily. She was always smoking when she sewed or cooked. And she would mumble things under her breath (usually having to do with my brother… “oh, that Yianni” was a favorite phrase of hers). So somewhere, I think that Katherine and I have thought that smoking is linked to stress relief. (On a side note… I want everyone to know that this is not the only thing that we learned from Grandma… she was one of the greatest and most important people in my life).

Hence… days I wish I smoked. Now I know that my mom has already commented that I only have one child and just wait until I have two. But those days I wish I smoked aren’t always about Pavlos. Usually, it’s a culmination of little things (like snow on a branch that eventually causes the branch to break). Sometimes it’s Pavlos, sometimes it’s Paul, sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s church responsibilities, sometimes it’s too much traffic on the freeway, sometimes it’s just plain old being tired. All these “sometimes” added together, over enough days, leads to days I wish I smoked. And I don’t think that it is actually smoking… it could be something else… just substitute smoking with any other vice… Days I wish I had a drink… days I wish I drank coffee (with caffeine)… I don’t think I ever have days I wish I did illegal drugs, though:). There’s something that appeals to me about having a cigarette on the back porch to soothe my nerves (and make my clothes, hair, and breath really stinky).

And I have to admit that there was a time in my life when I did smoke. For about three months. We (Katherine and I) were working at summer camp as counselors. And the smoke breaks at the smoking table on the back porch behind the dining hall. Friends gathered there, complaining about which cabin was worse. Maybe that’s where this feeling comes from… smoking cigarettes and complaining, together, a bonding experience. But, after camp we quickly quit our three or four cigarettes a day habit and never went back to it. So maybe this is the definition of addiction: 13 years later, still having a moment where I want that cigarette (it was easy enough to quit) but never giving into it.


Susan said...

Thank you for writing such a lovely tribute to Grandma, and to Katherine too.
I think she was a "little" high strung. She called it frazzled. I long for a quiet way to relax, but havent found anything yet.
I think, also, that Katherine wants to be alone sometimes. Dont all mothers??? She says she wishes she could plop her kids in front of the tv, go out and smoke.
Maybe you guys have too high of standards for yourself. Thus, leading to stress.
I certainly wasnt opposed to "plopping" you guys in front of the tv occassionly:)
God Bless Grandma, and all the young mothers out there:)

Jim N. said...

I have those days all the time. We quit smoking last Pascha, but fell off the wagon just before the Nativity Fast. It's been a week since we've quit again and hoo-boy! Sometimes all it takes is just getting up in the morning. :)

Mimi said...

Beautiful memories, cracking up at "days we wish we smoked".

Karl Thienes said...

When I managed a Dairy Queen (oh, those many years ago now!), I used to smoke unfiltered Camels after particularly stressful evenings at the restaurant. I only did it for 3-4 months, but I must admit that it really did help me relax. :)

Jim N. said...

Right after we were married, we got a call to go to Virginia Beach for an all expense paid weekend at some resort, if only we would let them pitch us on buying a time-share. We went, and bought not one, but two time-shares! Fools... anyway, while we were waiting for the agent's boss to finalize things, we went outside with the agent and smoked unfiltered Camels. Lord! It was like smoking burnt coffee! We've since been bankrupt and lost a house, car and both time-shares.

Ah, memories... :)