The Painter has given up smoking. Not for the first time. I’m pretty ambivalent about smoking, I think it should be a matter of personal choice, without undue pressure from the government or health professionals, and I no longer go into pubs much since they banned smoking – although I have never been a smoker. I think the ban on smoking in pubs ruined the adult atmosphere of them and I hate sitting there waiting for my drinking partner to come back after yet another sneaky fag outside, where he ends up having a great conversation with the other smokers and the rest of us non-smokers sit inside at our separate tables not speaking to anyone, avoiding each other’s gaze and trying to find important texts to answer on our mobile phones.
Anyway, back to the present issue. The Painter has given up smoking for (so far) a total of about 29 hours (not that we’re counting).
Whilst I appreciate how very difficult it must be to give up such a strong addiction, and I have a lot of admiration for the fact that he is doing it ‘cold turkey’ without the aid of gum or patches – I do honestly feel that I deserve a medal for not just packing up and moving out until he’s clean.
‘Directionless’ does not begin to describe it – and he would be the first to tell you so. We have the aimless wandering from room to room, the starting but not finishing things (all sort of things, from sentences, to cups of tea, to television programmes, to paintings), the wistful gazing into mid air, (as though a unicorn smoking a roll up can just be seen frolicking in the distance), the deep, shuddering sighs as though attempting to exhale every last particle accumulated in those lungs over the last 40-odd years, and the fidgety hands which keep moving about, patting pockets, picking up cigarette shaped objects, tapping on surfaces, searching endlessly for something to set light to.
It looks to me like it’s going to be a very long winter.