Friday, April 29, 2011

Come on baby, light my fire.

There was a time in my life where I attempted to smoke. And the occasions in which these attempts arose were primarily liquor- laced. I was not an actual smoker but let's face it, alcohol has been helping us make poor decisions for centuries. 


And then I tried something new. A spicy, sweet, tasty treat. The clove cigarette.  My best girlfriends in college, Muppet, KitKat, KariO and Smack and I would go in our rooms and put towels beneath the door (as if that flimsy cotton would stop that super strong stench from seeping out in the hall. Why not smoke the ganja? Or cat shat. Those two things smell just as mysterious and secretive.) But oh how we loved to feel like superstars, after all, to us the clove cigarette was the smoking choice of the classy lassy.  The good thing about clove cigarettes is you really could not smoke many of them. Three in a row and your mouth, throat and lungs would bleed. 

Ironically, I detested the smell and taste of regular cigarettes but the potpourri cigarette? Slide me a that sorority cup full of Keystone and apparently, I am Puff the Magic Dragon. 

But this bad habit stuck with me off and on post-undergrad, post-grad school AND my move to Atlanta.  One night my girlfriend and I are out at a fab restaurant / bar (this was years ago and before the sweeping smoking ban across America). As we were all dolled up and smoking our clove cigarettes, one of the surly bartenders actually yells: WHO THE F___ IS SMOKING THAT _____ CLOVE ______ CIGARETTE?  Well, several eyes turn towards us. Our feeble smiles are met with  GET THE ________ OUT OF THIS  BAR!  Ouch. Apparently, we did not need to offer him one. 

And yes, when he said Get the F out he really and truly meant it. Excuse me, according to the quality show Cops, you only get thrown out of bars if you 1. start a fight 2. wear cut off jean shorts 3. remove your shirt 4. Say things like "F the Po-Po" 5. are a man because women who do nothing OR do ALL of those things simultaneously get asked to stand up on TOP of the bar and dance.


Fast forward to the next year and at yet another sultry lounge with guys and dolls, I am all glammed up (in my opinion) and feeling sassy. I light up my fancy Turkish imported clove cigarette and smoke it up like an episode of Mad Men. A fabulous girl in a smashing dress turns toward me and asks, "Oh, is that a clove cigarette?"

I answer, "oui" with a smile.  She says, "I used to love those! I smoked them in 8th grade!"



The thing is, she wasn't being mean. But here was my sickly sweet smoky parade and her "8th grade" comment was the rain all upon it.  Did it deter me? Not quite yet. 

Later that year, I noticed that I was getting headaches, wretched and frequent. A friend said one night after I inhaled some Advil that perhaps the disgusting clove cigarette, albeit occasional, was the culprit.  Why yes, I believe you are right.  And I never touched another one. 



Now the simple smell of cigarette smoke ails me. And the smokers are banned from virtually every restaurant and bar in the U.S. The rule doesn't make it any easier for true smokers but it certainly makes me appreciate I am over my clove cigarette phase.

24 comments:

Joshua said...

I used to smoke a pack of cloves a week, for no other reason than I loved the taste. I'm sure my lungs are glad I stopped 10 years ago.

Big Fat Gini said...

I did the whole social smoking thing years ago when I'd go drinking with friends (because "social smoking" doesn't sound classy enough). Sadly, I never had the opportunity to get thrown out of a bar, because one day I got caught by someone from church and told my parents.

Did I mention I was like 24?

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

I couldn't smoke the clove but smoked regular ones for 40 years, starting at the age of 12. I have been smoke free almost 2 years now. Yay for me, but I wish I had never started to begin with. The smell is awful...I used to stink like that. No more. :o)

Mommy Lisa said...

I had not thought of cloves in FOREVER. They did make your lips tasty too...

Kristina P. said...

I was a heavy smoker. Of candy cigarettes.

Pricilla said...

I have never heard of clove cigarettes. I guess I missed a rite of passage...

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I used to smoke! But never the cloves! My days are smoke free now! Thank goodness.
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Mom Taxi Julie said...

Ahhh the memories! I still want one of those whenever I smell them.

webb said...

Christmas of my freshman year in college, my sweet Dad gave me a lovely, engraved lighter... I didn't have the heart to tell him that I had already stopped smoking! One bout of bronchitis was enough.

Maria said...

I remember the clove cigarettes all too well...I am happy to report that I never felt the inclination to smoke after them...

So. Cal. Gal said...

Clove cigs make me nauseous. A brother smokes them (outside with the door open, so he might as well be smoking them in my face).

Eva Gallant said...

What a sheltered life I've led. I had never heard of clove cigarettes. I smoked the evil tobacco ones when I was a freshman in college; luckily, the first serious boyfriend I had was during that year and he once mentioned he couldn't stand girls who smoked. I got rid of the cigarettes and never smoked another. I guess I can thank him for that.

Rebecca Knight said...

ohhhh, man. We had a very "sophisticated" friend who would chain smoke the cloves. Like, inhale six of them poolside without blinking an eye.

After your description, I'm even more confused about how that is possible... o_O

Chez Zizi said...

Oh my, you bring back memories. Yes we smoked clove cigarettes too (and to be honest we did it in 8th grade as well, lol). I used to like them occasionally however have not touched one in years.
Ziz

Baloney said...

I've been missing your blog lately!
You are such a hoot and I always enjoy your stories.
So glad you gave up the clove cigs. Eww. :)

Jaime said...

i only really smoked when i drank...a lot...in college. but i hated waking up in the morning feeling like i had been licking an ashtray. three mornings like that were all i needed to give them up.

Mrs. Tuna said...

I quit smoking about 20 years ago, I was a diehard pack a day smoker...Did it with hypnosis.

KittyCat said...

Honestly I am glad that they had banned smoking from most bars and all resturants.

I have never been a smoker, but that is cause my mother smoked and I hated it.
also neither of my kids have ever tried or currently smoke, also due to my mother being a smoker.
I also want to add that my mom has been smoke free for over 20 years now.
I hear its a hard habit to quit.
Congrats to you for quitting.

Melissa B. said...

I smoked for a tad in college, til Mr. Fairway told me he was sick of kissing an ashtray. Good for him!

Slamdunk said...

Ha, I think you have accurately captured COPS' getting thrown out of bars criteria--well done.

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

I get a sore throat just thinking of that. Been off smokes three years this month...hooray. And they do smell like crap.

Intense Guy said...

I still wanted to make a penis size comment.

But I won't.

[puts on judgy pants] I'm glad you gave up the smoking. [takes off judgy pants]

Gasp! Now I need some pants!

af1blog said...

You know what? Smokers don't smell half as bad as people who are too lazy to shower and smoking isn't half as dangerous as being treated for some minor ailment in the average hospital.

But, hey... I suppose we should expect a big fuss about whatever takes ordinary people's minds off of the REAL problems with society, the economy, the government, the political farce, the rubbish in the media, etc., etc. - modern life in fact...

Rant done - thanks. Good post by the way ;)

hotpants™ said...

To this day, I still want a cigarette when I drink. I don't, but I want to.