10,000 Spoons – No smoke, without fire

I am a smoker. Have been one for the past 18 years. This is a story, when the addiction was at its peak. A couple of hours without smoking had me on the edge.

This is from a time, when I was a graduate student. One Saturday morning, I woke up early and mind was taken over by the ” lets do something positive, today” thoughts. I quickly made some coffee and enjoyed a morning smoke on the back patio of my apartment, thinking about the thesis work, I intended to finish today. I freshened up quickly, got dressed and walked up to the campus shuttle stop. It was about 5 minute walk.. I was feeling great. 

I went to my lab, checked a few emails, created a model and after about an hour, I was about to run the simulation. The simulation run for about 2 hrs before I could get the data, I was looking for. The plan for the day was to analyze the data and put together a report for my advisor.

So I had about 2 hrs to kill before I could start working again.. I browsed for about 15 minutes and had checked out most of the usual websites. Now, what do I do. I headed out to smoke.

As I headed out of the Engineering building, the weather had completely changed. It was raining heavily with thunder n lightning. A typical Florida Rainstorm.. I could not have used the usual smoking spot, so I went to the covered area, that served as an alternate. Usually, you would find at least a couple of students smoking in the smoking areas of the Engineering building, no matter what time of the day. Today, nobody. 

I went there and put a cigarette against my lips. I checked the pockets for the lighter. Couldn’t find one.. I have a packet full of cigarettes but I cannot smoke because I don’t have a light.

Library on campus is a central location. You can always find someone smoking there. I took the tunnel to the library ( 5 minute walk) but not a soul out there. The campus was deserted. By now, the urge to smoke had taken over. I could not go home because the walk to the shuttle stop will drench me. I was trapped. Lesson learnt, No smoke, without fire

I could not focus at all. I waited until the simulation was complete, saved it and decided to wait in the main hallway. Luckily, in about 15 minutes, I saw my friend. He lived in same apartment complex and had a car. I asked him, if he was going home. He said yes and gave me a ride home.

I went home, smoked the cigarette that I was desperate for. Ate lunch.. Waited until the rain was over and walked back on campus, smoking on the way. I looked at the data and it was just right. My 10,000 spoon moment had me hustling for a book of matches, but I was happy that the to-do list for the day was “done” and I have a story to tell.


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