I find that the biggest temptation to reach for a ciggy isn't while drinking or when I'm tense. It's, hold your breath, when I'm BORED!
I had never realised that I had gotten into the habit of reaching for a cigarette when I was bored. I always thought I smoked when events such as morning tea, post-lunch, evening cocktail, tension at work, etc., were triggered.
I thought I chain-smoked while setting up for a play was because I was tense about staging it. But when I come to think of it, I wasn't that tense. For example, on the morning of the day I was to stage a play, just before I left for the venue to supervise the set-up, I got a call from the Police saying that I had failed to secure permission for using loudspeakers. Apparently, a play comes under "special events" (or something like that) and needs special permission for using loudspeakers, even if one is using the regular sound system of the restaurant (I usually stage my plays at a restaurant). So I just handed over responsibility of setting up the stage to a good friend who'd worked with me while I marched over to the Police Commissioner's Office to sort things out. One would expect that I'd be super-tense; would I get the permission in time? having gotten the permission, would I reach the venue to find that my inexperienced friend had made a shambles of the set-up? would my audience ever forgive me (that was the biggest worry).
Under such circumstances, I should have been smoking at every chance I got. Instead, I went from clerk to clerk, constable to constable, Inspector to Inspector, right up to the Assistant Commissioner of Police with no thought of a cigarette crossing my mind. The show was to begin at nine p.m. I got the permission at 8 p.m.
At 7:45, when the Inspector told me it would take time and I could go out and return in ten to fifteen minutes, I should have been out of his office like a shot to sneak a few puffs but I didn't move. I had, after all, been pursuing this precious piece of paper since 11:00 a.m. I had skipped lunch and tea so that I could diligently follow up the various forms and make sure they reached the right constables and clerks (damn the Brits for introducing bureaucracy in India!). I should have been a bundle of nerves dying for a cigarette!
So, in retrospect, the reason I was chain-smoking at stage set-up when I didn't have all these worries was because I was bored! I use professional set, sound and light guys and all I really need to do is give them the brief and they do the rest, unsupervised.
Will revelations never cease to amaze?
So, if you smoke too much (or think you smoke too much) perhaps you should seek tension rather than avoid it. Go do something!
Then check if you smoked while you were doing it.
Labels: boredom, non-smoker, reason, stop smoking, tension