Kevin Marshall Quits Smoking, Day 2: Important Statistic & Nicotine Dreams
I’m not sure if I mentioned the specifics before, but there’s a six-week process to using the patch that weans you off your body’s dependence on nicotine. You start for 14 days with the 21mg patch (if you smoke 10 or more a day – skip if you smoke less), then 14 days with the 14mg patch, then 14 days with the 7 mg patch.
So really, I’m seven weeks out from calling myself anything resembling a “success” in terms of quitting. However, I read something today that struck me and inspired me.
It seems that although it’s touted as the most effective aid to quit smoking, the patch only works in 7% of smokers who try it. Me? I’ve beaten harder habits and addictions, so this one should be a piece of cake.
Since the only difference between smokers and non-smokers is an addiction to nicotine, that means I’m better than 93% of you. That’s right – ninety freaking three percent of you are lesser beings than the one known as Kevin Marshall.
Which brings us to a poll, because I get them with a paid LJ account and never use them:
Yesterday, I wrote about one of the common side-effects of the nicotine patch: vivid dreams and nightmares. I haven’t had any of the latter, but taking a nap after work today I had a dream that I suppose you could describe as vivid.
The dream started with me meeting a woman whom I can still envision as if she were standing right in front of me. She stood at 5’6″, and her hair was a short, mousey brown cut with pronounced blonde highlights. Although petit, she had an incredible presence that gave her a measure of control in every situation that would have been overwhelmingly intimidating if I hadn’t been so enamored by it.
She partially resembled some women I’ve known in my lifetime, but also looked distinctly unlike any of them. Her eyes were an expressive brown that were welcoming and always betrayed any effort she made to hide her disappointment. When she smiled, it took up residence in every aspect of her facial features; raising her cheeks to a point that made her eyes squint. Throughout the dream, she wore a pink collared shirt and tan pants.
I think if I were to ever meet this woman in real life, I’d be in some serious trouble.
I suppose the premise of the dream was that I had once been very close friends with this woman, but distance did to us what they do to most people once enough time has passed. I suppose I was visiting her in an effort to catch up with her and rehash the “good old days” or something like that.
Her neighborhood was in a perpetually warm climate. It might have been somewhere in Southern California. The view from her front porch was unlike any I’d ever seen. She lived in a cul-de-sac that came directly off a busy intersection in an affluent part of town. On one corner was a coffee shop that, it was frequently noted, nobody knew about and nobody stopped into. It was noted several times that this was the preferred situation, as it gave her and the handful of other residents exclusive use of the shop.
The cul-de-sac was beautifully designed. It was about half a city block, and was a perfect balance of concrete infrastructure and meticulously landscaped greenery. In the back, which directly faced the intersection itself, was a raised hill with a wonderfully designed walkway overlooking the entire neighborhood. The oddest feature of the neighborhood, however, lied directly below the overlook – a brownish amber stone cutting of the fossilized head of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. When I noted it, the woman (whose name was never mentioned at any point in the dream) told me that Tom Waits had once described the stone T-Rex head as “the most beautiful thing in the world, bar none.”
In the dream, I agreed with that assessment without a hint of irony.
I visited her and she showed me around her home. It was a spacious ranch home, with furniture kept to a minimum. The rear of the house was made of glass, and she slid open a door so we could step outside and see her “work.” As I stepped outside, I looked to my immediate left and spotted somebody who I recognized and named, although the name escapes me now. He wore the sort of brown suit with a darker blown trim that you saw on aging country stars in the 1960s and 70s. He carried a violin with him and a trademark cowboy hat, which immediately tipped me off as to who he was. I excitedly noted his presence and kept saying over and over again how cool it was that she lived next door to him. She politely agreed, but seemed annoyed at my reaction and subsequent enthusiasm.
He took his exit from the area I spotted him in and I turned my attention to a row of vegetable gardens. None of what she grew was out of the ordinary, but it was all perfectly maintained. The aging country performer walked over, and they started talking business. Apparently, there was some sort of financial arrangement concerning potatoes.
Once they were done talking, we went inside and I met her significant other. He was a good looking fellow, although slightly overweight. He was babyfaced with a body build that you usually see in guys that were unremarkable frat boys that stopped going to the gym once they no longer had a free membership by way of their college. You could tell that he was a bit self-absorbed, dull, and selfish in his outlook on life. After he left her home with a promise to return later, she immediately started a conversation about how chronically unhappy she was with him. She said something along the lines of being disappointed that he hadn’t asked her to marry him yet, and then noted that she didn’t think at this point she’d say yes if he did ask.
She took out a compact disc in an effort to change the direction of the conversation and asked me if I had heard the song that Tom Waits had written about her neighborhood. It was a song called “Willie’s Big Band Wedding Waltz for Walter.” It started out with, of course, a big band arrangement accompanying Tom’s gravelly voice. Then, unflinchingly, the tempo of the song changed and it was just Tom with a single acoustic guitar singing what was the most beautiful song I’d ever heard.
The dream jumped forward to later that evening. I was with her and her significant other, who had returned from running errands. We sat in her living room watching television. Another couple, friends of theirs, arrived with several bags. One was a pretentious fellow with a beer belly and long black hair. He wore a black trenchcoat and wireframe glasses with lenses so thin I couldn’t help but think he wore them only for effect. I didn’t see much of the woman that came in with him, other than that she had curly red hair and wore one of those flowerly “hippie chick” dresses that you usually associate with women that wear patchouli oil and aren’t shy about letting your nose know about it.
I noticed the woman I was visiting seemed physically annoyed by the presence of this couple. I saw the look on her face and realized there was going to be trouble. I stared too long while we made eye contact. I tried desperately to think of a time when I saw a woman who looked more beautiful than her, but couldn’t.
I asked what we were doing that evening. The pretentious fellow, wiping his feet, noted that we were going to watch something called “The Hope Christens Charity Gala.” He said this without looking at me in a manner that answered my query but allowed him not to acknowledge my existence.
The woman I was visiting shot a look at the bag he had with him. “Just so you know,” she curtly remarked, “my house isn’t the goddamn Ruck.”
Note – The Ruck is a dive in downtown Troy.
He took offense to her remark. “What the Hell does that mean?”
“You know exactly what it means,” she said. “It means I’m not going to have you stinking up my living room with cigarettes and hard liquor like you did the last time.”
“Well,” he replied, “you should’ve said something before we came over.”
“I told you the last time you were here, I’m telling you now, and now you’re leaving.”
The couple made an angry exit. After they slammed the door behind them, the woman’s significant other chastised her for being rude. It was a very weird and tense situation. She was getting upset and didn’t try to justify her reaction or defend herself. Her significant other would not be deterred by her silence and continued brow-beating her for what had just happened.
For some reason, I decided to speak up. “You know, I don’t agree with how she handled the situation, and honestly it wouldn’t bother me nearly as much as it bothered her. But if they were going to bring over hard liquor and cigarettes, they should have let her know ahead of time. Regardless of what you think of her preference, it’s her home and they were in the wrong.”
There was silence. He didn’t say anything and just stared at me blankly, nodded his head, and left the house.
Seconds passed, and I stood up. I looked at her, deciding if I should make an exit, but she wouldn’t even look at me. As I turned to leave, she stood up and walked directly in front of me. I stopped long enough for her to embrace me, then bury her head in my chest. I held her and rested my cheek on the top of her head. Tom Waits’ “The Heart of Saturday Night” emanated from her television.
Then I woke up.
Jesus, what a weird dream.
An IM I just got.
svexsal: “You know exactly what it means,” she said. “It means I’m not going to have you stinking up my living room with cigarettes and hard liquor like you did the last time.”
svexsal: obviously about your past”
Yep. As for what the rest of it means, I have no Earthly idea.