I had dinner out with my friend S last night. We ate at an Indian restaurant that is under new management. I had my usual palak paneer and a vegetable korma. VERY tasty, but it wasn’t so much fun digesting. Not the food’s fault. My gluttony.
I drove. Unfortunately, my AC is on the fritz. My car is an “old” Ford Escape. It’s 2003. For the last several summers, the Freon or whatever it is that they use in the compressor has leaked out. I’m going without AC this time. I drive short distances only, so windows open for me.
Which led to our conversation about odours.
S took a deep breath and said, “Ah, nothing like a good snoot-full of gasoline.” She meant that in a good way.
I said, “I know! I used to love being in the car when I was a kid and Dad had to fill up the tank.”
We went on to talk about other smells we liked, like butane. Both of us grew up with family members who used one of those cigarette lighters. The kind that sounded a satisfying metallic tone as it was flipped open followed by one, two, maybe more scratching rounds on the igniter, depending on how breezy the setting, and the draw of breath to light the cigarette, and the simultaneous sound of the exhalation of tobacco smoke and the snap shut of the lighter.
S mentioned that her uncle used to roll his own. He made his smokes one at a time. I told her that my dad did, too. But he manufactured a pack or two in one operation. He smoked Macdonald’s tobacco, purchased by the tin.
He had a roller tray with a rubber belt upon which he layered the paper, then the tobacco. Adequate turning of knobs and rolling the belt produced a long thin cylinder which was then cut into cigarettes using a razor blade. I watched the production at the dining room table after the meal was cleared away.
Actually, when mom and he were first married, the task fell to her. Which is remarkable, in a way that I cannot explain. Was this something she did out of love for my dad? My parents did not demonstrate their affection for one another. If indeed they had feelings of affection. Actually, one time I did witness something that might qualify. Mom was busy, bent over the oven door, taking out a tray of cookies, and as Dad walked past, he patted her butt (…ew.) She snarled at him.
She did not smoke, and I cannot imagine that she condoned the expense. It could be that she offered to make the cigarettes for him. Maybe she had a knack for it? No matter, once we kids were on the scene, she had plenty of chores to keep her busy. Howard rolled his own.
Dad smoked almost all of his life. After every meal, at the table. In the car. The windows of the car were waxy with residue. It was really rather gross. As a girl, though, I cannot say that I minded. The habit was as normal as coffee for breakfast and tea for lunch and dinner.
I don’t recall if Mom finally pestered him enough to quit smoking or if an MD had a few words. Either way, I was in my early 20’s when he gave up the habit. He died of a stroke in 1984. Was smoking implicated? Hard to imagine otherwise.
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In response to Writing 101