24 Days

As of yesterday, Wednesday, August 20, at 8:30 PM I had gone 24 days without a cigarette.

I felt all day long at the end of my rope and fit to be tied (a rather confusing rope metaphor, since if I was the end of my rope I don’t know if there would be enough to tie me up).

But I woke all upset upon remembering that Carol and I had not been able the previous day to locate her father’s ashes.  We have had those ashes for some time now; we drove down to Escondido to get them when Carol’s mom remarried and felt it would not be appropriate to have the ashes of her former husband hanging around in the dwelling she shared with her new husband.  Sounds overly sensitive to me; but I don’t know the prevailing etiquette in such situations.

One might also ask—and I think the etiquette vague in this area too—why the hell were the ashes just hanging out and not in the ground or a mausoleum.  If they had been buried Carol and I would not have had to go through the agony of losing them.  But Carol’s mom wanted us to hold onto the ashes until she, herself, died; and then it would be Carol’s duty to bury them both in the same place.  

In a way, it’s all my fault.  Carol has not been sleeping well and I told her she was waking up at night because unconsciously she was troubled about not yet having buried her parents as the one last thing she needed to do to end her responsibilities as trustee for her mother’s estate.  And then when he couldn’t find the ashes, I thought it was my fault because I had hidden them in a closet (so Carol wouldn’t see them) and I had kept track of them for years; but last summer we cleaned up that closet and somehow they had been removed from that closet to lord knows where.

I did remember, thank goodness, where I had hidden Carol’s mother’s ashes (so she wouldn’t have to see them hanging around).  So Wednesday morning the first thing we did was start looking again for Carol’s father’s ashes.  We looked all over and then decided to look in the garage.  I felt upset that we might have stuck Jack’s (Carol’s father) ashes in the garage because—while the etiquette is vague here too I think—somehow sticking a person’s ashes out with the car did not seem appropriate.

But that’s where we found them—in the garage and Carol went off with her mother and father’s ashes to cemetery to look into buying a plot.

I did not go with her because by this time what with no cigarette and the missing ashes I was about to jump out of my skin and couldn’t stand the idea of looking at a plots.

22 Days

If my numbers are correct (and they could well not be), I have gone 22 days now, as of 8:30 PM, Monday, August 18, without a cigarette or any form of nicotine.

I have not made it this far sans nicotine for a number of years.  Clear back in the late 80’s or early 90’s.

I would like to report that I feel better and more assured in my quest for zero nicotine no tolerance lifestyle.  Unfortunately, I still feel like crap, little or no energy, lethargic in the extreme, at moments positively torporous and not at all convinced of the final outcome.

I watch Olympic events and I lack concentration to figure out what the heck the people are doing.  I numbly ask myself how the hell did these events get in the Olympics and by what stretch of the imagination do the people doing these things qualify as athletes.  The Ancient Greeks would be appalled by the trash sports we have allowed into the competition.  I eagerly await the introduction of “x-treme” “sports” involving skate boards and alligator wrestling into this hopeless and idiotic affair.

The fellow who won all those swimming medals unfortunately seems to have a problem saying words; or at least I find myself losing concentration in the rather lengthy gaps between his words.

The American gymnasts seem joyless people who have sold their souls to the devil for who knows what.

I watch the Olympics when I get up as a way of irritating myself into semi-conscious.  I saw some people running around throwing a ball in what appeared to be an insane cross between basketball and ice hockey.  What the hell was that?  And who the hell are these equestrians and what sort of hang-up do they have with horses.  I imagine the ghetto Olympics featuring drive by shootings events with points deducted for killing the innocent.

Next week I will have the Democrats national convention to irritate me into consciousness.  But I will not watch that.  I will miss the Olympics.

Ode to a Nightengale

I have not had a cigarette since Sunday, July 27, at approximately 8:30 PM, so if I make it till 8:30 PM, Saturday, August 8, I will not have had a cigarette, if my math is correct for 13 days.  Making it till 8:30 PM is far from assured.  For sadly, I must say I do not feel better, having not smoked a cigarette for 12 days, but much, much worse.  At my previous intake of 12 cigarettes with about 12 cups of coffee a day, I can say, that while I was not operating at optimal efficiency, I was at least somewhat functional.

Now I don’t have the emotional strength, the mental powers of concentration, or the physical wherewithal to summon the adjectives or to develop an analogy that might evoke my state; so instead I use the words of John Keats who knew fatigue since he was dying of TB.

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

      My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,

Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

     One minute past and Lethe-wards I had sunk

Well, that sums up my current state pretty well I think.  A “drowsy numbness” does “pain my sense” and my head as well as my heard aches and I yearn to slip Lethe-wards towards Oblivion (sleep) like every second.

The only positive trend I have been so far able to detect, I detected with my trusty blood pressure machine that I bought for the low, low price of $19.95 at Costco.  Just a few minutes ago my blood pressure registered 104 over 51 with a resting pulse of 55.  These I have been told are good numbers, those even of an athlete.  But since I am not an athlete and incapable of such endeavor because of my knees and elbow problems, I must conclude something has gone terribly wrong.  Perhaps it’s my thyroid.  And while people may die of high blood pressure, I think it should be noted that when people are actually dead their blood pressure is very low.

But through the fatigue and the Lethe-wards sinking, one thing remains crystal clear: