I heard told once that heroin is easier to give up than cigarettes. Bob Dylan said he kicked heroin no problem, but to my knowledge, at 79, he still smokes.
I can attest to the difficulty of quitting. I’ve been smoking on and off for more than 20 years. (I’m not smoking now, if my wife is reading this.)
I always struggle with not smoking around this time of the year. There’s something about the cold that makes a cigarette more enjoyable. It’s a slower time of year, too. The days are more languid and as mom (or was it grandma) said, idle time is the devil’s plaything.
I know that I don’t want to be a smoking dad. That’s like having a second family. A second family that stinks. It’s a lot of work keeping it secret.
Today, my daughter was so excited to see me when she woke up from her nap. I had just got home from work and was sitting on the couch picking my toes or something when her mom brought her into the living room.
She didn’t notice me right away but when she finally did, her face lit up and she began moving her arm up and down like she was waving.
I’ve decided to undertake another resolution and that resolution is to make myself look sexier from day to day. I’m told dads are supposed to be sexy these days, and I don’t want to be off-trend.
Because I work in a coffee factory and roasting coffee is a dirty job, I where the same shitty clothes every day. I don’t pay much attention to grooming either. My eyebrows are always wild and bushy. My face is never shaven.
No more. I’m going to start shaving every day, and I might even take a stab at combing my hair.
We made mimosas with the left over champagne on News Year’s Day. Our New Year’s Eve was no less eventful than anyone else’s this year.
I’ve never been one to go wild on New Year’s. Because of Covid, I didn’t feel guilty about it this year. In fact, the virus makes the so-called holiday less relevant than ever. I doubt anyone thought twice about January 1 at the height of the plague in Europe.
Still, if I had to choose a resolution for myself, that resolution would be to play more basketball. My in-laws gave me a basketball for Christmas. I had it outside for the first time today. I spent twenty minutes shooting baskets while my wife and daughter watched and laughed.
Later, we went home to put the baby to bed and spend some time with our bottle of gin, though I don’t have a resolution to drink more.
Everyone in my house wakes up hungry.
The little cat is the first to stir, almost immediately followed by the big cat. The clock in their stomachs eerily consistent, they always wake me up between 6:08 and 6:13.
As the little cat head butts me and the big one works my feet, the baby begins to quake. She begins with a trilling sound and moves to a back-of-the-throat noise that sounds like wow.
The baby’s aria continues as I get up and feed the cats. By the time I set the food down, my wife has risen and seated herself on the couch. I can’t go get the baby until mom is in position, her milk cannons ready to fire (her turn of phrase). The wife gets coffee and a bowl of granola while she feeds the baby.
This is my morning routine now, a deviation from when I was a single man and waking up meant cigarettes, coffee, and a book. I prefer this new regime. Being responsible for feeding other people (and cats), means I take better care of myself. So where once Wednesday morning was a Camel Blue and Philip Roth, it is now a bowl of oatmeal and yogic stretching.
A man could be forgiven for romanticizing the days when his was the only mouth that needed feeding, but I try not to do that. These days, I feel nothing but gratitude for even having the ability to feed a family of three people and two cats. I read that one and seven people in America report not having enough food from day to day; in places further afield, like New Delhi, the situation is graver still.
Hazard yellow Ford
Rips across vacant highways
Through fires unseen.