I moved to London a week ago to start my student life, or to turn a new page in this book that I call life. So far everything has gone well even though I wouldn’t say I’ve made any new contacts just yet. Sure it has something to do with the fact that I am in a totally new and strange country where I don’t know anyone, but the main reason is this: I don’t smoke.
Every night since my arrival there has been a group of art students gathering under (literally) my window to drink and socialize. I have found it very difficult to go there and socialize because I don’t know what sort of an excuse I could give so I would have a reason to go to them. For smokers it’s a lot easier. They just go to each other and say: “Can any of you bad boys bum me a smoke?” or “Light my bar of toxic chemicals, please.” I noticed the same thing this summer when I had my first real summer job. Those who smoked were immediately friends – or at least in speaking terms – with each other, while the rest of us were forced to come up with a topic that didn’t start with “Do you have a lighter?” I actually remember listening some of my co-workers discussing about what kind of cigarettes they smoked. I stood next to them and thought who the hell cares.
But that’s just the thing; smokers always have one thing in common. Raise your hand if you have ever been the only one (or at least in the minority) who stays inside the bar when everyone else goes outside to satisfy their nicotine addiction. Don’t you just feel awkward sitting there alone for approximately ten minutes that it takes to smoke two smokes (because usually they do that)? We non-smokers have a pickle here: to be healthy or to always be sort of out of the group?
I do understand the attraction that smoking had before. During the 20s I bet it was exciting to spend your evening in a smoky bar wearing a flapper dress. Times were mysterious, ominous and rebellious then. Think about James Dean (okay, he was in the 50s) and Downton Abbey era. There was something sexy about it. However, now the times have changed. It is so difficult to smoke today since it’s forbidden in bars, clubs, restaurants, or in any public spaces. I guess I’m too lazy to go through the trouble. Besides, smoking isn’t glamorous anymore. Picture this: You’re spending a night out with the girls. Some of you need to smoke so you leave those couple non-smokers behind. You go outside (and if it’s Helsinki, it’s cold as hell and you’re fingers freeze. If it’s London, it’s most likely raining and you’ll get wet and your cigarette moistens) just to be squished with all the smokers. You do this at least five times a night. In the morning when you’re hungover you go outside in your pyjama. You’re probably still wearing your makeup from last night and look like a homeless person. Not very glamorous, right? And you do this just because you are addicted to toxic chemicals.
So to answer my question above, I would rather be healthy and focused on my career at the moment than fit in completely, especially detriment of smoking. It isn’t, and will never be, worth it.