I smoked. A habit I picked up in college, one might say. I was living in San Francisco, going to school, and trying to meet people. The easiest way to start a conversation was to ask for a cigarette. And it worked.
My first roommate after living in the dorms I met because of smoking. We both smoked Parliament Lights on the step of our Castro apartment. The guy at the corner store would save the buy-two-get-one-free packs for when we came in. We'd take our cigarettes home, sit outside on the cement steps, and talk. Mindlessly chain smoking most of the time, hours of conversation passed along with packs of cigarettes.
I met my first friend in Sacramento smoking. I'd moved back to my hometown to finish up my degree and met Megan in poetry class. We'd smoke cigarettes at the coffee shop and write lame poetry. Starting with a blank piece of paper, we'd take turns writing line after line, until pages filled up. Our cigarette boxes would run empty.
I quit smoking, because I smoked too much. Really. I went out dancing with a girl friend, smoked at least 3 packs, went back to her place, smoked more inside her place, and woke up with my eyes burning and feeling nauseated. That was it.
It's been 4 1/2 years, and it still smells good and looks sexy in photos. But my lungs thank me.