Thursday, December 16, 2010

Entry 116: One Ridiculous Reason To Smoke

Someone once told me a major reason they started smoking was to have an escape for anxious social situations.  To paraphrase, "I liked being out at parties and with friends, but sometimes I would just need an escape and smoking was a perfect excuse to get away for a minute."

For a moment set aside your position for/against smoking, and instead focus on a hidden level of ridiculous truth in this reasoning.  I, for one, related to this person's explanation and feel that 'escaping' is a benefit to cigarettes.  Even if we broaden this rationale to say that "it's just cool to step outside with other cool people and be cool" -or whatever- I think that most people could understand the argument and it would make sense.  Sort of.

But, if you look again, it doesn't.  And it doesn't have anything to do with smoking!

Take a girl, for instance, who wants to be able to escape a party when she starts to feel a bit crowded.  Maybe some lacrosse player, hopped up on family money and Mountain Dew, decides to convince her repeatedly that she is, in fact, meant for him.  Or maybe some guy gets momentarily bored when he becomes not-the-center-of-attention and wants to sneak out a bit before he's spotted not being the king.

If either of these people were to say "Excuse me please, I'm awkward right now and I'd like to stand outside alone or in a small group and be away from this area for a brief time" the people around them would think they were crazy!  If, however, they decide to step out for a smoke? Well that's perfectly normal.  Regrettable, you might think- given the health concerns- but normal nonetheless.

So let's review.  Standing outside for a few minutes to escape? Weird. Going outside to purposefully inject your body with dangerous chemicals that have been linked to diseases as wide-ranging as cancer and malaria (made that second one up)? Normal.  Poor choice, perhaps, but normal.

Something's wrong with that. Not wrong enough that I'm going to not step outside in approximately 3 minutes and smoke, but still- kinda wrong.

Caleb out.


  1. ..... That is what the bathroom is for! And part of the reason women go to the loo in groups.
    To get away from the crowd, over bearing men, etc..

  2. A clever observation. I talk to smokers though... if I saw someone standing outside alone at a party just staring off into space... hell yeah it would be weird, but I certainly wouldn't talk to them.

    I like your description of what cigarettes do though, quite true!

  3. What if you simply use smoking as a way to curb homicidal urges and such? Just asking. No particular reason :)

  4. Interesting point - I'm quite anti-smoking but only in terms of my having to breathe it in, and I'm always intrigued to hear why some people put themselves through it. This reason makes some sense despite being ridiculous underneath.

    Nice description of being "spotted not being the king" too - I know exactly what you mean and I've had that happen way too many times!

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  6. See now this wasn't the case when you could smoke wherever. Since our smoking ban came into action I have often ran outside with my smoking friends to freeze for a few minutes because there's only so many times you can go to the toilet! Only on a bad night of course, I'm not a fan of the British weather so I dont subject myself to it if there's another option. A friend of mine recently told me he's taken up social smoking just to meet a shy guy he benefits from the smaller, more intimate groups that smoking areas allow for. Strangest thing really...

  7. Quote from Lois on Family Guy: "If she smokes, she pokes!"


  8. Love it! I'm not even a cigarette smoker, but this sure as heck sounds a lot more convincing than what I normally say - "it's too hot in here".

    I've had many moments when the Southwest theme came to play and I "needed to get away". The two guys who walk up to me and a friend and I'm bored of the polite small talk with him if he's not my type.

    The moment when only ONE guy walks over and chats it up with a friend and I'm standing there like "uh......."

    and of course...

    The moment when I see someone I AM interested in outside and use the time as an opportunity to be seen.

    Good stuff Caleb, keep it coming!

  9. It's always the bad stuff that's the most useful. It's the same with alcohol. Ya know like. You're at a party and the people are tedious. So you take a bottle of gin with you to the bathroom and start doing shots by yourself until you think you can return and they'll be sufficiently funny. No? You guys don't do this? You're probably the tedious people at the party. Just Sayin'.