Much of today has been spent pathetically trying to think of inventive perversions of the instruction “DO NOT SMOKE for at least 48 hours” that allow me to smoke. The most successful one so far has been “well, they always exaggerate these things, just to make sure. I expect they doubled it. It’s been 24 hours now, I can have a fag”.
While I mostly despise Allen Carr and his “Easy Way To Stop Smoking” (if you’ve never actually thought about what smoking does to you and nobody ever told you it was bad, you might find it useful, or if you are extremely susceptible to miniscule amounts of charisma) he does have one good point about the psychological lengths that people will go to to convince themselves that they want to smoke, or that they must. It’s fascinating to see the contortions that intelligent people will go through to satisfy a chemical addiction. They will actually believe that they enjoy the process, that inhaling smoke is pleasant. Look, I know. I’ve told myself this before. It’s fun for a bit but twenty times a day? If it was that much fun, why not try ginseng or clove cigarettes? Couldn’t be because there’s no nicotine in them, or anything?
There’s a similar process with alcohol, coffee and other legal drug-containing substances, except those are based on taste, and there’s indication that people do actually grow to like the taste. Coffee is horrible if you’ve not tried it before. You drink it for the caffeine, and after a while you become accustomed to the taste, and with enough exposure will appreciate its nuances – with the result that people will drink decaff coffee.
Similarly, wine, beer, spirits – they’re all foul. Admit it. You started drinking them because they got you drunk, and you couldn’t stand them at first. Everybody is like that. Some drinks even I can’t handle, even now – whisk(e)y, for a start, though bourbon I manage since (typically for an American product) it is sweeter than the alternatives. Most real ales make me want to vomit. I have been known to drink alcohol-free beer, though, and I could almost see the point of alcohol-free wine if only the alcohol didn’t make such a difference to the body and taste.
Alcohol encourages a greater level of “connoisseurship” than tobacco, it seems. I suspect this is because partaking of the drug gives you a tendency towards long-winded exposition and rambling pomposity, whereas smoking doesn’t really have much of a psychoactive effect. Compare wine bores to cigar bores – both pastimes of about equivalent socio-economic status, containing equal levels of snobbery, but I would far rather talk to the latter than the former since the latter won’t go on about it forever (unless, of course, the latter is drunk).
For the ultimate in boreship, though, you have to experience the dope bore. Any occasion that significant quantities of dope are being smoked seems to always bring out one or more people who will pontificate at extraordinary length about the qualities of Lebanese Yellow vs Moroccan Sheep and where the best places are to get them and hash vs weed and that time when they went to Thailand and scored some magnificent zzzzzzzzzz. Because dope is a drug that makes you boring and, significantly, makes you forget what you’ve already said so these conversations can go on all fucking night.
I’ve never been a big smoker, mostly because I don’t really enjoy it very much. I like to think I’ve given it a fair try, but it just isn’t my drug. So I’ve never built up a reason to appreciate it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all just stuff that you burn and inhale, or cook with and eat. Thus I am now in the same position with regard to dope as a non-drinker is, listening to my comparisons of South African and Australian Merlots and which years are better and thinking “what the hell is he on about? It’s all just booze”. Or a non-smoker listening to me talk about how nasty Lambert & Butler are. How can one cigarette be nastier than another? They’re all foul.
For completeness, even though it’s not really the same thing at all: the acid bore. Actually, there are two types of acid bore. The first type is the psychonaut, and these people can actually be quite interesting if you’re in the right mood. The sort of person who writes lengthy trip reports, comparing different dosages of different drugs in different combinations. Not something I really have any desire to do, but I think it’s at least extending the boundaries of science, and more importantly they do not buttonhole you at parties and bore you with every minute detail, they keep it to themselves.
The second type is the “last night I took acid and I understood the secrets of the universe and I can’t explain them now” person. Well, that might be because you were on a fucking psychoactive that made you feel like you understood the secrets of the universe. In any case, what is the point in telling me? If you’ve come from the other side of reality but can’t actually tell me what the secrets of the universe are, why should I care? Piss off and bore someone more easily impressed. If your mind’s been expanded then it shouldn’t just contract again afterwards if there’s going to be any point to the process.