Daily routines keep a person sane, they give a sense of purpose and direction, it prepares them for the achievements of the day. Little rituals that the high tech tribes prepare for… making sure their mp3 players have a new mix of songs. The suits making sure their blackberries are charged up, and the creases in their pants ready to cut 2 inch glass.. Soccer moms e-mailing the latest recipes to the list of other parents.
The morning rituals can make or break a day, toast burns, alarm clock doesn’t go off, phone calls from relatives who think you have the time to chat. They all add up to a bad start to a day. My mornings usually involved me evolving from caveman…grunting and pointing towards the bathroom, cringing and groaning when the water temperature would change from the adjacent neighbours deciding to flush the toilet. Coffee in me, do the morning quick internet browsing to check on the weather forecast, and do the checklist.
My mother calls these the ‘Did I’s’.
Did I turn the stove off, did I get the drain plug out of the sink, did I start the washer and dryer, did I make sure that the salad dressing get put back into the fridge after getting lunch ready… etc, ad naseaum. I have my wallet, cell phone, mp3 player for those long quiet afternoons at work, lunch packed up, my cheerios for that morning breakfast, backpack has novel in case I have to take the bus home, and my hat. Testicles, spectacles, wallet and watch. Yep, it looks like I’m ready for the day.
When I stopped smoking over a month ago, my habits had to change, those rituals were now disrupted. The weight of my jacket changed, there was no long that comfortable mass that balanced. I tried putting my cell phone in place of where I had my cigarettes, it still feels weird. I did contemplate very briefly about using my old cigarette tin for a portable mp3 player… I filed that thought under not healthy, as having any paraphernalia around would not help my recovery. I have a bag of lighters that keep growing in size. The physical hand to mouth gesture has been replaced, I straighten out my moustache and goatee.
For those of you non-smokers who have never touched a single cigarette, it’s exactly like forgetting to put on your watch.
You feel naked.
The physical presence of the things that get us through the day are soothing. It makes sure your world is all in the right place and in order. When those things are removed, it’s like an old friend suddenly dying on you. It jars your routines, your rituals, that what was unshakable has broken off and lost. Your perception of the world has been changed, and not by your own decision to change things. And in a way when those small things are lost, you must mourn them in your own ways. And I’ve never been good with mourning, I prefer to celebrate.
It’s a better way to live.
And now with that pack of cigarettes no longer in my jacket, my world has changed. By my own decision to do so. Now I have to remind myself that ‘No, I have everything. All is good in the world.’ Even though I have reminded myself that I have everything, it still feels like I am forgetting something. And there is a brain fog that comes along with not-smoking, my concentration and focus levels are about the equivalent of a hyperactive 4 year old hopped up on pixie sticks and coca-cola. So I have to push through that fog and remind myself…
All is good in the world of me.
No matter what though, it follows me around all day long, that naked feeling, that I’m forgetting something… did I lock the door at home… did I then it occurs to me.
I’m not wearing any pants.
I’m still here,
P.S. All of the above is true, except for the pants. Although at one of my former jobs,
we did have a sign above our work bench that read… PANTS ARE NOT AN