Ten years ago, I stopped smoking. Now, I’m not going to say something sanctimonious that I feel good everyday and it’s the right thing to do in this world. Nor am I going to say that I don’t miss it, the smell and the cost. I stopped. That’s it.
In that time, smoking has become a banned substance in bars and places where people gather, where they used to talk and flirt and bond over movies and music over an awful scent of tobacco. The alternative is vapor, a nicotine substitute that sounds as hollow as the brief wisp of smoke it creates. This vapor has turned the act of smoking into a robotic necessity, a desire for the “drug” we associate with high school bathrooms, backstage areas and insomnia. It is now a private act, yet one we can now perform everywhere from offices to low lit bars (for now anyway). It is lonliness in a room full of people, some of them dying to connect if only someone had a pack and a lighter to ease the sting and lubricate the conversation toward how great that new band is or how that director has just lost it completely or that they had the worst day of their lives and would like someone to talk to.
A few people I know at my job have taken to “smoke breaks” that are anything but. They walk, they sit and they connect. It’s not that the smokers at my job don’t do the same thing. But we should be taking the traditions and the ritual of smoking and applying it to a new paradigm, removing the vapor that hangs in the air for a brief moment and replacing it with the solid connection that we all used to feel. Only without the tar.
I encourage you to connect over the the fact that Bob Mould’s first solo album turns 25 this year. And that his words and music are still as vital and solid than they have ever been.