On smoking

My toes, I imagine, are wound round the chipped balcony bars. I’m sitting somewhat uncomfortably on the wooden chair painted a Mediterranean yellow and wobbly. I’m trying to be still, this morning time, to take in the scene all at once or in bits, but I’m chilled by the early spring, the sea breeze, the sun not doing its job. Too bad also the cigarette tastes briny–this because of the sea air. Now not the restless buzzing but also not the desideratum, a feeling of tranquility.

The experience is meant to be an indulgence: waves, cigarette, morning. Taking time and taking things as they are. Giving free wandering to my thoughts, free course to my inclinations, giving pleasure its due. But it’s not quite this.

I don’t smoke, I can’t remember the taste of a cigarette, and so I have only a vague notion of what smoking would be like. Then also I don’t want to smoke, to be a smoker, or to feel as if I have to carry a lighter on my person, but I would like to be the kind of person who can indulge whatever experiences partake of smoking’s grand conceit.

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