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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

"Do you think," she said, staring down at the wine glass clutched in her hands, "that it's possible, actually physically possible, to give up smoking for ever?"

I looked up, startled. This isn't where I'd expected the conversation to be going.

"To just stop one day," she continued, swirling the wine lazily around the glass, spilling some over the edges with the clumsy motion, "and never have another one ever again?"

"Um." I said in response. I thought about it for a bit, and decided to avoid the question completely. "Why? Are you going to give up?"

"No, no, no, no. No. I don't think so, anyway. Well, I mean probably. One day. Soon. Definitely soon. But no. Just, cos I don't know anyone who has, and I'm thinking there might not be a point in trying, because I don't know anyone who has, and maybe it can't be done."

She looked back at her wine glass, noticing for the first time that some of the wine was running down her fingers on to the table cloth. She grabbed the bottle, refilling both of our glasses, and resolutely slammed it back on to the table. I thought about the implications of her statement.

"My parents gave up. They don't smoke any more. So there, you do know people who have." I went to take a celebratory sip, but the glass had been filled too full, and I managed to spill a healthy swig across my wrist and on to the floor. She didn't seem to notice, and I didn't seem to mind.

"They don't count," she responded with great confidence. "They're
adults. Of course they can give up. I mean people like us. People," she continued, waving her arm around the empty room as if to indicate a gathering of likeminded individuals all nodding in agreement with the point she was making, "like us."

I nodded, and this time managed to get glass to lips without spilling a drop. I saw her point and voiced my agreement through the glass. "Mmmm."

We both sat for a moment and thought about the implications of this. I didn't know. It must be possible for some people. Not everyone is as weak willed as we are.

"I don't know," I announced loudly, jolting her out of her revelry, "it must be possible for some people. After all," I continued with confidence, having held her attention for this long, "not everyone is as weak willed as we are."

"YES!" she agreed, startling me in turn. "That's true! We're the last..." And here she paused to make way for the joke that all smokers make at a certain point in the night when they've had a little too much and are feeling invincible. "We're the last of a dying breed." She held out her glass so that we could toast our weaker wills, and our self inflicted deaths.



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