Sunday, February 19, 2012

Electronically Yours

Have you seen those electronic cigarettes? Not only have I seen them but I have one that is kept in the coffee mugg with the Arizona desert picture that sits atop the fridge. Most of the time I forget that it is there. I am not smoking right now and haven't been for almost three years now. I don't boast about being a non-smoker as I know I'm only one cigarette puff away from being a full blown smoker again. I fear relapse and I don't tempt fate by ever taking that one puff. I'm not one of those people that can smoke only when out at a bar drinking with friends. I'm not one of those smokers that can bum a cigarette and share a time out with friends. No, my friends, I am an addict. "Hello, my name is Charlotte Ann and I am a nicotine addict."
The husband is still a smoker and the electronic cigarette is something he bought with his money and the hope that it was the easy way to quit.

A hint to one and all. The only way to quit is cold turkey. Each puff of nicotine signals the brain to release dopamine. If you don't take that puff, the brain will be very insistent on reminding you to get some nicotine to it's dopamine receptors. The brain will start needling you..nudging and causing you jittery feelings until eventually you light up another cigarette and get that nicotine to the brain and those receptors that will release that dopamine causing you to exhale with a big sigh...ahhhhhhhhhh....and the jittery feeling leaves for a while.

I had to understand what was going on with my brain in order for me to give it up. I would be prepared for the brain's insistence on having it's way and it became a battle of wills. Me against my brain and I wanted to win. If it took angry conversations with my brain, so be it. I argued. I rebelled. I stood my ground and as the weeks past and each victory over the brain was attained, it became less frequent and less intense with the arguments.

We were staying at a Holiday Inn Express Shreveport, La. The husband was on a job and since he was only a few hours from home, I hopped in the roadster and followed him to Shreveport. While he worked, I explored Shreveport and Bossier City. My mornings were spent in the breakfast room sipping coffee and watching the morning news while
one eye tuned to my laptop. I multitask well.

Soon I became familiar with the staff. The desk clerk, the security staff, the maintaince person and the breakfast room worker. Every morning a conversation would erupt regarding the sites to see in the area. I would grab my camera, put the top down on the roadster and hit the road to wander around the little towns adjoining Shreveport. I enjoyed my morning talk with the locals that were working at this hotel. The maintaince man was especially kind. His family owned a Praline business and shipped Pralines all over the USA. I had him bring me some Pralines and insisted on paying the going rate for them. They were awesome.

One morning as I left the room, I grabbed the electronic cigarette and walking up to the maintaince guy, I put the cigarette between my lips and took a long slow drawl on it. The tip lit up a bright red, smoke curled from the end of it and from my mouth as I shot a stream of smoke into the hall.

The look on the maintaince man's face was priceless. I could read his facial expression of dismay. That look quickly changed to horror. He stuttered out reluctantly the policy of the hotel against smoking in the building and as he was speaking I took another huge hit off that 'cigarette' and then leaned forward and placed the red end of it on his forearm. That's when the look of horror appeared as he began taking steps to back away from me. It still hadn't registered that he wasn't burnt. His brain prepared him for the pain he was supposed to feel and he was still there.

Quickly I clamped my fingers over the red end of it while  I explained to him that it was not a real cigarette. It was not until seeing his expression that I felt a bit ashamed of the trick I had just pulled. We both laughed albeit his was a nervous laugh and he questioned me about the 'cigarette'. He wanted to quit smoking and was willing to purchase one if it would make quitting less painful. All I can say is, the husband is still a smoker and I'll just leave it at that.

I'm sitting here beside Carrie as she plays a game on the Wii. We cancelled our plans to go to Biloxi this weekend. The rain that blew through here yesterday left behind 49 degree temperatures. The wind is whipping and pushing those temperatures even lower. A hot shower and some warm jeans and sweaters, soups and naps are on our menu and I'm already looking forward to the nap part of these plans.
Carrie will hang around here until she gets bored then will request to be taken home.

I'm ready for that hot shower and that long nap. Happy Sunday...and I'm gone!


  1. What a trick!!

    I agree with cold turkey being the only way. I am, however, one of those smokers that can have a couple and then no more. I quit after 15 years, but I had four (drunk!) on my birthday almost six weeks ago now and haven't had one since. The next time I've had more than three beers I'll probably have another one...

    Drives my husband nuts. :-)


    1. I envy those part time smokers! ...or I did for a long time when I first started my "quit". Now I'm ok...I seldom think about a cigarette and wish i were able to do this years ago!


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