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WHY I STARTED SMOKING--by ginger lynn stevens

May 25th, 2006 (05:45 am)

My best friend in the 8th grade, at Kubasaki High Okinawa...
(7th-12th grades)
Was Christine.

Imagine a wildly young half japanese Loni Anderson....with Chutzpah.
I was her not-attractive best-friend with weirdly out of date morals.

Big Black Feathered hair, short short skirts....
GREAT lip gloss.
An 8th grader who was already giving it up, and wearing pumps to school.
She was my heroine. She seemed to KNOW so much.
I watched her like she was a rock star.

(i know now, she was my first girl-crush, and that I wanted her...
would be many MANY years before that could make sense to me.)

I told her constantly about the horrors of smoking.
As my parents had told ME.
She should QUIT!

But quietly, stealing yen out of the YEN FOR CANDY JAR in our kitchen....
I was buying SEVEN-STAR cigarettes at 200 yen a pop.
(less than a dollar at the time)
Sitting out back of the house late at night, holding them in my hand, and trying
to get that MOTION that she had.

She held them so well.

I still hadn't inhaled.

I VIVIDLY remember the first time I inhaled.
It ACHED into my lungs.
I did not cough.

I pulled it in a tight fast inhale, and held it.
It burned.

I breathed it out of my nose like my favourite GREAT AUNT LOIS...
Something I had not until then, been able to do.

I was sitting on the back of....ooooh, I may actually have a picture stored
of the house.


Wow, yeah...this was my house:

Out back... sitting on the edge of the cement that circled us, wow.
It seemed like such a large house back then. We had a "fancy" house for our
village, Kitanakagusuku.
An ENORMOUS yard...and A/C.
See the box?
That cooled the whole house.

I look at this picture and I can still smell the air.
Two miles from the ocean, at the VERY most.
Feel the weight of the humidity, of my tropical island home.
When the rainy season came (three months solid) our clothes
could mould on the hanger...
I would go to school with short wet hair from my shower, and come home
with short wet hair.
The Mousse never had a chance to set.


I miss it.

I inhaled...practiced.
And then in the locker room before Gym, I casually lit one up in front of Christine
and she was shocked, but admired my technique.


I've "quit" several times over the years, two years at the most....
But no, I have never quit.

I love it.
I love that it is bad.
I love the ruuuuuuuush when you have not had one in days.
(I go weeks without one, at times)

I still watch the way a man smokes, to know how he will be in bed.
I have never been wrong.

The way a man handles his smoke, is the way he will handle ME.
I watch, oh....how I watch.

I once met a man who did not start smoking until he was 21....
Andrew Peltz, head waiter of Zoot, circa 1993-'94.
He was 25 when I met him.

He handled his coffin-nail with a grace that made me wet.


I love to smoke.

I come from two non smoking parents who have survived cancer....

I smoke.

There is something horrid and sacred about it.
A ritual with tools and etiquette.

A defiance of life, that makes me feel alive.

I can now, no longer remember my life
without it.


Posted by: They call me 'Benton' (die7fox)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 01:06 pm (UTC)

How do we do that? I remember the very fist time I inhaled cigarette smoke. It was painful. My lungs were telling me IMMEDIATELY that THIS DIDN'T BELONG HERE. I remember coughing it all back up, and even being a little sick afterward.

What the hell made me try again?

Took me nearly twenty years to break the habit. I hope I never go back to it again.

Posted by: Red Lipstick & Green Ink (ginger931)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)

Kick Ass, Benton--I am so glad your quit has stuck this long.
NASTY habit.

Posted by: Panzer Division Megan (schwarzbrille)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
random - whirlwind heat

First, I didn't know you used to live in Japan! I've only visited, but would love to live there someday. So jealous!

The way you ended this - something horrid and sacred, a ritual - makes perfect sense to me, and has put into words something I've had trouble expressing to people who don't already understand it.

I know I don't leave many comments, but I always read your posts, and I'm so glad you're on my flist. :3

Posted by: Red Lipstick & Green Ink (ginger931)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
Evil Little Buddy

Wow, didn't know I grew up on Okinawa...
I really do need to stop fucking off.


Posted by: Coffee Shop Whore (skidspoppe)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)

And this, dear girl, is why your journal attracts those who want the writing to define the writer and not those who only vare about how your day went.

Posted by: Red Lipstick & Green Ink (ginger931)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
Cowgirl G

Oh, Jaq..........

*squirms and smiles*

Posted by: emily (tugena13)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC)

i hate it and i want to quit... but part of me still lives in a time when all women had red red lips and smoking was glamourous. and yes, i love the RITUAL of it as well. the escape, the excuse... argh.

Posted by: Red Lipstick & Green Ink (ginger931)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
Cowgirl G



Posted by: Pumping Iron Hearts (woundedmarigold)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)

You have the story!

When I was 10, I would pick up my dad's cigarette butts and smoke what little nicotine they had left in them. It sounds sick now that I think about it...never inhaled of course.

I was a pyro back then too.


I should have never started. It was on and off again since my junior year in high school--the year I lost a couple of marbles.

The first time I inhaled, I, too, did not cough, but the burn in my lungs was intense. I told myself if I coughed, I'd look like a beginner, and with that, "they're all gonna laugh at you."

I quit by the time I graduated high school, and when I started college, I didn't start up again until my sophomore year.

And ever since then, well, you know...

I can't sit in a bar without one...I can't hold a drink without one. My boyfriend John smokes like a fucking chimney; Marlboro Reds since he was 12.

Smokers have always attracted me. I stare at John in awe every time he lights up. He has this way about it...you know a manly way about it?

My parents do not know I smoke. I hide it.

Dad quit several years ago after the stroke. The doctors blamed the smoking. Of course, I smoked even more after that.

There is something "horrid and sacred" about it, and yet, it always finds me.

Posted by: Red Lipstick & Green Ink (ginger931)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)

I woke up with my throat burning...
I must have smoked half a pack writing that post!

*shakes head*

And I know my place smells HORRIBLE.

Posted by: Heresiarch (radixx)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)

Tomorrow morning will mark 3 weeks since I quit. I must admit, I do miss it some. I miss the cool factor of it. I miss gesticulating with a lit Camel. I miss setting my stainless cig case and zippo on the bar and getting settled in for the night.

Soon I think I will take up cigars, skinny cigars.

Posted by: Red Lipstick & Green Ink (ginger931)
Posted at: May 25th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC)

Three weeks, that's wonderful.

One day....One day I will try again.

Posted by: EasyReader (mummra)
Posted at: May 26th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)

(big grin)
good story.
I love smoking with a passion that I think can only exist for things you know are horrible. There is just something so right about it. I don't even worry about dying of cancer. I worry about the fact that I know I have to quit at some point. But I don't think I will. Because I don't want to, and I refuse to make a half assed attempt at it. And I would, in fact, walk a mile for a camel.

I think that some people just are smokers. It doesn't matter if they actually smoke or not. It's some kind of biological need. When I was a kid, I thought it was a terrible nasty habit, but it still always had something of an allure to me, and used to get great satisfaction out of just being near my friends while they smoked in high school, before I started. Lung cancer and the like are a cruel joke.

(i had to delete and repost to add in a space. [arg.])

Posted by: Disophy (disophy1)
Posted at: May 26th, 2006 09:55 pm (UTC)
made me wet.

Cigarettes are sublime.


and nothing like a smoke at the old Cedar Door......;-)

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