Sunday, January 15, 2006

I've Grown Accustomed To Your Taste 

In the first place, the idea of gum that tasted like -- what, nothing? cigarette filters? what? -- was just a bit too weird. I'd started with the mint, and stuck with it through the introduction of a surely nasty Orange flavor; it seemed safe to assume that gumflavored gum was best.

Then one day all they had was Original Flavor Nicorette.

I've been chewing nicotene gum for a while now, ever since I first tried to quit in earnest. Since then, multiple failed quit-dates have come and gone, but the gum stays regardless, ready to serve as barely acceptable nicfit substitute for long flights, long drives, and the occasional long meeting.

For most of that time, chronologically, I've been an occasional minteater.

But then I started teaching again, and the schedule doesn't allow cigarette breaks. I started taking a piece of gum before lunch, and couple more through my last classes.

And what we had was that Original flavor stuff, which -- honestly -- was bitter and tingly in weird places. Chewing it felt like chewing cardboard.

But somewhere along the line, I began to look forward to that odd taste. I relished the first burst of flavor, began to detect subtleties of foretaste and aftertaste. Nicotene gum got good to me. Like a friend.

And then, this week, I actually figured out how to quit.

Since Tuesday, I've chewed up half a box of that jaw-stiffening tingly treatment -- an hour or so of oral delivery at 4 mg and just about 70 cents a pop. But we ran out in Boston over the weekend, and all they had at the WalGreens was that mint stuff.

Each piece of which is too soft, too strong, too sweet, and two sizes too small.

I miss the full rich original flavor of nicotene gum. Oh, that hint of wax. Worth rooting through old coat pockets for.

Acquired tastes are funny. Beer once tasted bitter; moldy cheese was for playground jokes and cheese plates for company, not midnight pate-and-bagel snacks. I've just started eating fish in the past few years, after an oversensitive lifetime of strong icthyo-gag reflex. Caviar's not good to me yet, but it will be.

If experience matures what nurture and environment create, my daughters' tastes will not be mine. Already at 3 and a half to the dot, Willow talks southern barbecue, exotic vegetables, sushi; kani was one of her first words and her favorite finger food. Baby Cassia at 9 months prefers flute to drum, abstract concepts to concrete nouns, veggie puffs to anything. To wonder where they will wander from here is to envision a great and centering path before each.

Not everything can be acquired, of course. Nor is it all worth acquiring. Quite the contrary. We cultivate such simple singled-out pleasures not to consume, but to specialize, to reinvent ourselves in careful pleasures, to savor.

But you have to start somewhere. Choosing your path may be a constant affirmation, but it's knowing thyself that makes it all worthwhile.

And, once you've found them, a good country pate, some Eliza Gylkyson, a good idea, a keyboard, and thou make for a pretty damn rewarding oasis. Pass the gum.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:34 PM |

Your writing is very enjoyable. Thanks for doing such a great job!

I quit smoking about 4 years ago when my fiance told me that she would never marry a smoker. It was an easy choice for me, but very hard to pull off. We are very happily married now.

It's worth it.
Thanks for the battle... I think you should have won... :)

Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening