In two days, I will have been the closest to me being smoke-free in two weeks. Yeah, I slipped up a few times (taking a drag or seven off a friend's cigarette here and there, or just flat-out taking one out of her pack), but so far I feel better. I legitimately feel healthy, which is nice, but there are some negatives to feeling this healthy, especially in a city where a crazy old woman can sell you food made out of sticks of butter and the number one revenue in the area is that sweet, tasty nectar I like to call "beer."
At first, my sense of smell came back - a bad fucking idea. I can smell how much like pure stank-ass Savannah smells. It's really gross. The only way I can explain the smell of this city is to tell you to imagine a giant mixing bowl, filled with sewage, rotting paper, hobo piss, and azaleas swirling eternally under a giant whisk made of cheese sticks. The gentle, salty ocean breeze helps to waft this aroma to all corners of Chatham County, especially during the changing of winds, which is early in the morning (during my run) and late in the evening (when I'm more likely outside doing something that involves debauchery). It sucks. I can't stand the smell that seems to be emanating from the hairy backside of a large beast that resides just out of sight off the coast of Georgia. Merely for the sake of my nose, I absolutely love it when my friends smoke around me, because that acrid smell is tons better than the farts of the Savannah SeaBeast. Seriously, this place needs a giant Glade candle lit at all times in Forsyth Park or some shit.
If you thought I made the return of one of my five senses sound horrifying, you should slow down, because what happened next is just as sad. For the past two weeks, I have been shoving food, pens, gum, mints, and anything remotely chewable into my mouth-hole to satisfy the cravings that I fall in and out of throughout the day. If I could set a stick of gum on fire and smoke it, I think I would be happier; alas, such a blessing can't happen to me. My worst mouth-filler is carbs. I love carbohydrates. Mmm mmm mmm. Bread, crackers, cookies, beer, soda, candy... CARBS EVERYWHERE. I feel like my inner fat kid was bitten by a rabid goat and is hell-bent on consuming anything in sight. My mouth has become one of those katamaris in the game Katamari Damacy, with my body rolling all over the fucking place, collecting anything minimally edible. Ladies and gentlemen, not only can I not put down the fork, I can't put down the fucking cake either. As fat as I imagine myself to become, and possibly through the eye-melting fear of that image, I've picked up a new habit in an attempt to replace my old habit of smoking: running, yoga, and general exercise.
I was running a few days before I quit smoking so that I may convince myself even more that smoking is the phantom of the lungs. It felt AWESOME. Holy crap, I never knew running was so, so, COOL. I did little spurts of running mixed with "spurts" of walking, and it seemed to actually feel like a good cardio workout. My heart pounded out of my chest, sweat drenched my clothes, my thighs chafed.... And then, my ankles went out. Yep. For the past 10 days, I haven't run. Why? Because my ankles - especially my right ankle - feel like they have been replaced with bags of crushed glass. God help me, it fucking hurts. I gave in to purchasing ice packs, and I've been icing my ankles in the morning and at night for the past week, which seems to be great entertainment for my boyfriend (he only laughs because he runs five gazillion miles every other damn day and it barely fazes him). The sight is pitiful. I lay in bed, both ankles wrapped in ice packs, and my face a twisted grimace from the pain of both the cold and the glass crushing inside my ankles. I can't even walk up a flight of stairs like a normal human being. To be honest, the only pain relief I've found lately is to walk around in heels, but then that just hurts my feet and knees.
However, not all is lost. I still do yoga and general exercise-y things like crunches, light weight-lifting, and push-ups, but that running thing is getting me down. You see, I've registered with the Livestrong website, and those people (I'm actually pretty sure they're robots) know how to make someone feel like a lazy fat-ass. No lie, I enter every fucking item I toss into my gargantuan mouth-hole into their MyPlate food diary, and every day, I go to sleep feeling fatter. To see what garbage I throw in my mouth on a daily basis posted on one single website makes me feel ashamed to have my mouth or my stomach. I find myself saying those snooty things that those angry, pretentious health nuts only say, "You know how many calories that has in it?! That's horrible for your body!" I also have picked up the weird habit of pinching my fat while looking in the mirror and scowling at it. Hah. Like scowling is going to make my love handles go away. Puh-leez. Regardless, I've secretly started calling my account on Livestrong "The Confessional" because it makes me feel guiltier than a Catholic when I report how little I do and how much I eat. It's not nearly as bad as having to consciously cut back on my favorite drink ever.
Beer. I love beer. Beer, beer, beer. Beer forever. Beer was made before bread. Bread and beer are the best things on the fucking planet. Yes. That is my metacognition of beer. What can I say? I really like beer! Now, don't get me wrong, I don't need beer, and I don't need beer every day. In fact, I don't drink every day, but I still really like beer. And I shouldn't drink it, because the robots at Livestrong say that it makes me fat like Sally Struthers (those robots are really starting to piss me off - they take all the good things away). Even worse, when I drink beer, I often enjoy those wicked little cancer sticks called "cigarettes" with them, which lately has caused quite a predicament for me. Most bars in Savannah are non-smoking, but anyone can walk around with a plastic cup full of the sweet Urine of the Gods outside in the downtown area, and it's perfectly legal. Guess who likes to walk around with a plastic cup full of the Urine of the Gods in the downtown area. This bitch. This premise means that, as I walk around downtown, absorbing the sights and drinking my beer, I could easily be having a cigarette. But I can't - I've quit, and gum makes everything tastes really fucking nasty, especially beer. To chew gum and drink beer is to brush one's teeth and drink orange juice. It's just not right. None of it is.
Quitting smoking is supposed to provide an overall greatness to your health and well-being, but there are still negatives everywhere. Habits are very hard to break, such as drinking and smoking. The smell of this city burns the hairs out of my nostrils, and I can't afford to shove glade plug-ins up my nose every day (cigarettes are cheaper than those, by the way). I'm replacing cancer sticks with biscottis and pretzel sticks, and I can't quit eating. My relationship with beer is more distant, and I am not all that happy about any of this. So tell me, is quitting smoking all that great? Or is it just one of those "healthy" things to do that obfuscates the true image of what a happy life is? Because smelling this city and eating everything in sight is not making me happy one bit. Fuck it, I'm going to go chew on a biscotti and cry over a light beer. Quitting smoking sucks.