For The Love of Cigs

In Junkie Session, Weird Philosophy on March 11, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Now I know how posting this might get hard reactions from my non-smoker friends. But I just can’t help it. I want to talk about this filthy pleasure once in a while.

See I’ve been a smoker since the age of 20. Okay I lied, I’ve been smoking -officially- since the age of 18. Wait, no, I lied again. I first got the taste of a cigarette when I was 16. I liked it. I liked how cool it is to blow smoke through your nose. It’s like imitating ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’. It made me feel superior. Back then I was a backstreet smoker. I smoked after school, in a nearby food stall… waiting for my schoolbus to take me home (after I splashed tons of baby cologne to disguise the smell, that is).

My first-ever cigarette, like many Indonesian first-timers’, was Sampoerna A-Mild (yes, Meltje, that was what I lost my lung virginity to). It was sweet, rookie friendly and all my friends were smoking it. Well, not all, just the coolests of the bunch and I was one of them. I tried Marlboro at that time, but wasn’t too happy with the bitterness -which later in life I recognize as the universal taste of cigs-.

It was just so freakin’ cool to sit on top of your car’s hood, smoking, looking cool.

By the time I reached 18, I decided that I’d come out to my parents. Actually I was forced to come out as my mom found a cig stub in my bathroom -which was so weird as I never smoke while doing number two. The thought of putting something in your mouth while releasing something from your ass just never appealed to me-. I told her it was my friend’s (which it was) but yes, I was smoking because I couldn’t think without a cigarette’s help in doing my college assignments. What a bunch of crap. But my mom, being a heavy smoker herself, was understanding. And my dad went along with her. So there I was, another smoker in the family.

Whoever said about college being the place to experiment with almost anything was right. To some, it was sex and drugs. To me, it was cigarettes. Aside from my love for clove cigarettes, I tried ‘ladies’ cigs such as Capri and Virginia Slims. They were mentholated so the bitterness were disguised perfectly. But these imported cigs were crazily expensive. I remember buying two packs of either one of them, saving it for a special ocassion and smoking them like I don’t need the money whenever there’s a cool get-together or party.

I lived in a kos-kosan -townhouse, if you wil- back in Bandung, where I was almost the only girl among 40 guys. There were other two girls, but one was busy with her boyfriend that she never gets out of her room to socialize whenever the guy is around -which is everyday, they practically live together- and another one was never home as she -probably- lives with her boyfriend at her boyfriend’s place. So being the only socializing girl in the place, I got introduced to many types of smokes. And weeds, for that matter. My friend Mr. R was among those whom I got my smoking influence until today.

It was 1998, there were riots everywhere and all prices for stuff were skyrocketing. I stocked up on everything from pantyliners, shampoos to food… except for (stupidly enough) cigarettes. My housemates weren’t around as they were busy going off to rallys and their respective hometowns to protect their families from the riots, while I was stuck in Bandung doing my 371 assignment: Shop Design. As I tinkered with my drawings, I realized that I was out of cigs. Thank God there was Mr. R.

I knocked on his door.

“R, it’s me. Open up”
“I’m sleeping”
“I know, I just want a cig. I know you have a whole carton in there”
“But I smoke Marlboro Lights. You said you hated Marlboro”
“At this rate, I’ll love anything. Now open up!”
“I’m naked”
“I don’t care! I want my cig. I’ll pay now.  Come on, I’ve got a deadline!”

R opened up the door, wearing only his boxers. Suddenly I realized that he was with somebody.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry. You’re with…”
“If my relationship is screwed because of your craving, I will never ever speak to you ever again.”
“It won’t. Now where’s my cig?”

That night went so fast. R got dumped by his girlfriend and I fell in love with Marlboro Lights. He forgot the ‘I’m-never-talking-to-you-again’ pact as the next day he asked me to join him celebrate his singlehood playing pool and drinking lots of beers.

Since R was single and I was in love with my new cigs, he took me to a series of cig-xperiments. He made me try Davidoffs, Dunhills, Silk Cut, More and tons of other so-called ‘Premium Cigarettes’. One afternoon he showed up at my terrace with a tin of Sobranie Cocktails Multicolored Cigarettes.

“Care to put some colors?”
“Wow, those look nifty! And I love the packaging”
“Yeah. Tin packs are expensive.”
“Where did you get these colored cigs?”

And so we took our first drag together. The cigs tasted like shit and I was disappointed because I thought the smokes will be colored as well. How dumb. But R kept the remaining Sobranies and we made a pact to smoke those on our next clubbing night.

The following week, he brought filterless Luckies.

“It’s so good, Miund, you should definitely try these,” he said with a wicked smile.

I took a drag and my dinner came out along with the smokes. I will never ever smoke those again.

The next day he bought me a carton of Marlboro Lights to redeem himself.

R took me from one cig to another, and I didn’t quite find the love I grew for Marlboro Lights. Until the day he introduced me to a Japanese cigarette: Mild Seven.

“Dude, I’m not trying any other cigs. Last time it tasted like fried rice and stomach enzymes”
“Believe me, this is good. You should definitely try this one”

And so I did. And it was strangely good.

“It’s like inhaling air”
“I know! Isn’t it great?”
“How much a pack?”
“Around 11 thou.”
“Yeah it’s imported.”

And from there on I treated Mild Seven like I treated my Virginia Slims and Capris. The lightweight Japanese cig was my other ‘clubbing’ partner.

It’s been a while since the last time I met R. He’s a big shot lawyer now (last time I heard he was getting engaged). Last time we met was around 2004, dinner at Izzi Pizza, laughing our asses off.

“So, Marlboro Lights Menthol is the one?”
“Yeah man. After they’re produced locally, I figured ‘why not'”
“I’m still with my Marlboro Lights.”
“I can see that. No more Sobranies and filterless Luckies?”
“Nah. They’re for kids. Besides, the sight of you throwing up on my shoes was traumatic”
“Oh you know, I almost throw up yesterday because somebody smoked clove cigs next to me. So weird, knowing I started my whole smoking thing with cloves”
“Hey but cheers to finally settling down”

Looking back, if I had the same attitude to men and relationships, I’d be a whore and R was my pimp with a really understanding wife named Marlboro Lights who he cheated on notoriously with Sobranies, Luckies and cartons of his collections a.k.a mistresses.

What a deep thought on smoking.

  1. yeah i agree with you, especially with marlboro is THE one hehehe. babe, you used to hang out and sit on top of your car’s hood???? bbwwhhaattt?? was this in the 80s????

  2. … behind the bushes at Senayan Softball Field, sweetie. with nobody looking, obviously, except for my ‘cooler than thou’ friends. no it wasn’t the 80’s, in fact it was the early 90’s when i used to be in love with Richard Dean Anderson. when i actually liked wearing ‘hip-hop’ trousers. when Kris-Kross were the gods of rap. when i learned how to rap (and failed miserably). when i thought wearing a baseball cap backwards was a bold fashion statement. when i thought Converse ‘One Star’ was cooler than any Adidas. we all had our darkest days, and don’t make me go on about your hairstyle at that time.

    tsk. the early 90’s and me. go figure.

  3. aahhh i see, that’s why i didn’t know the era… i was stil in grade school back then 😉 i still needed to sit in the backseat of my car while my dad was driving – that explains why i didnt sit around on car’s hood, i couldnt even reach the car’s bumper probably let alone sittin’ up there – i remembered hip hop trouser worn by my uncles and yea, somehow the name kris-kross rings a bell…. oh wait… not my bell 🙂

    and that hairstyle of mine didn’t start till the 21st century… not the 90s. oh the good ol’ hairstyle 🙂

  4. dummy dummy me. so this is how it is to date a younger man. he bites you in the ass when you’re busy talking about kris-kross. stupid me.

    but i love my younger man despite him being obnoxious about the age gap.

    oh lucky him indeed 😉

  5. me love you more… and dating an older chick rocks hahahaha

  6. Did you, or Mr. R, buy cigarettes at the warung next to LPIA across KFC Jalan Dago? That warung sells (sold?) everything, imported cigarettes included.

    Like you, I can’t really stand the smell of clove cigarettes now. I started with Gudang Garam, however (that tells a gap of some years? :)) Switched to A-Mild, Marlboro, Marlboro Lights, Camel Turkish Gold (must try!), Camel Lights, and finally am settled with Marlboro Lights Menthol. Quite a long journey… now I feel guilty…

  7. you got that right, Bleu. the famous WI a.k.a Warung Internasional. they don’t just sell everything… they sell ‘stuff’ too… hahahakhakhakk… some of my kos-kosan friends even said they sell the best weed in town. i wasn’t a fan of weeds, though, as i hate the smell… but for liquor i go to Dago 34. they had the best prices on alcoholic beverages -and sometimes discounts for Bandung youngsters… 😛

    do those places still exist? i have no idea but the last time i passed the area, i think i caught the glimpse of WI and 34. maybe they’re subtler nowadays.

    i’ve tried camel lights. not bad at all but it wasn’t my thing. marlboro rules 😉 you know what i really really like? marlboro ultra lights menthol. it’s as light as mild seven, but still tastes like marlboro. too bad they don’t have it here. thank God i have a cousin in singapore who’d be happy to buy me a whole carton whenever she visits -never know how she managed sneaking them through customs- do they have those in malaysia?

  8. I don’t smoke. And I don’t hate those who smoke (as long as they do not smoke nearby huehehehe). But I always think that creative people (copywriter, designer, creative director) look so damn cool when they’re smoking while typing sumthin’ on their laptop…

    About a month ago a friend who is a non-smoker brought a cigarette candy-stick to the office. We ‘smoke’ the candy-stick every once and a while hehehe–especially when we have to develop some proposals. We looked at ourselves in the mirror, and we don’t look like a pair of sexy-smoker, but… what the heck?!! We keep pretending anyway.

    Hehehe 🙂 We don’t eat the candy, though …

  9. Hanny: just wondering… where did you get those candy cigs? is it like the ones we used to have when we were small?

  10. i think weed smells like shit. literally. basiannya kaya bau tai. hihihi maap.

  11. cha: can’t agree more. weeds are the worst.

  12. I am absolutely disgusted!:S

  13. Eits, baru baca sekarang.
    Ya kan udah merger, so no prob toh?
    You can smoke it all up now hehehehehe

  14. HARDCORE ANTI: well don’t read this if you are. dang, didn’t you read the disclaimer?

    Meltje: yep, and i am sticking with Marlboro Lights Menthol 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: