"...it seems to me that the individual today stands at a crossroad, faced with the choice of whether to pursue the new technology and the endless multiplication of material goods, or to seek out a way that will lead to spiritual responsibility, a way that ultimately might mean not only his personal salvation but also the saving of society at large; in other words, turn to God." - Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986
I have been quitting since I started smoking. Most people think smokers are stupid and weak-willed but on the contrary, they’re not. They’re just drug addicts, plain and simple. It took David Sedaris and Allen Carr to get me here again. Unlike Sedaris I can’t take 3 months off and move to Japan to quit and unlike Allen Carr I don’t have a throbbing vein in my head or fear my inevitable nicotine caused death. Two days into the withdrawal cycle, head heavy on my neck and crowded with cotton wool, I could fall asleep at my desk. I can’t think, I want to start a punch on with someone but I can imagine how my limbs would swing- like they’re underwater and in a dream. (I really just need to karate-chop someone or kick in a plaster wall and just put repeated fist marks into that plasterboard until my skin is hanging ragged off my knuckles and I’m cussing and sweating.)The worst thing I could be reading right now is The Virgin Suicides. I have three sisters and once upon a time we were all teenagers simultaneously and went through that sort of sullen self-imposed lock up; a kind of darkness and introversion as the winter of childhood setlles in.That’s when I started smoking seriously; watching suburbia go through its night routine; train on the hill going back to base- to some suburb, not too far away with a derogatory nickname, Scumshine or Crazyburn. Then the lights would be turned off in the almost identical post-war homes with quarter acre backyards, daddies who had their own businesses installed ‘inground’ pools but everyone had a wattle tree on their nature strip. It was patriotic. Trees, ancient eucalypts or recent europeans became silhouettes then continents, a world for bats and insects to speak their languages and attend to their customs. The creek ten houses down from us was concrete-sided to keep it moving faster in summer and stop the stagnating stench but at night it let off a mournful reedy scent, wanting to return to the earth and the sea. I would look at my bare feet on the swing that had been in our backyard since forever and smoke a cigarette slowly, trying to make it last.