Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Getting Fitter

Thieves of Time

I didn’t smoke these cigarettes. Honest.

As per my masterplan (which can be summarised as “don’t die soon”), I’ve quit smoking. This is day five. I’m repeatedly informed that the worst is over, which only confuses me, because it clearly isn’t.

That said, although I’m in constant ‘mild discomfort’, it’s nothing next to quitting alcohol. I’m pretty sure I’ll cme out the other side of this too.

Benefits so far? The biggest has to be the recovery of time. As I never smoked indoors, a cigarette always required time away from what I was going. Three or four minutes, thirty times a day. That’s about an hour and a half, every day. It was never completely dead time, of course, because the brain never switched off. Also, at least a few of those breaks would happen anyway, in some other form. I’ll scale it back to an hour of time actually recovered. I can write a lot of words in an hour. As somebody who used to complain about there not being enough hours in the day, I’ve just been given an extra one. Not bad going.

There are other bonuses, but to be honest their not obvious enough to me to feel great about. Cigarettes are dirt cheap where I am. In the last week, I’ve saved less than ten quid (in the UK, it would be far more impressive and motivating). I’m sure I smell nicer, but smokers don’t really notice how they smell, so that’s a bit invisible. Fitter? Possibly, but if my lungs are working better, that’s still being offset by the coughing as I try to dislodge twenty years worth of accumulated tar.

So, nothing major yet, to properly offset the discomfort, with the exception of time. I can live with that, and it’s all the more welcome for being unexpected. I knew cigarettes make you die earlier, and so steal away your time that way. It had never properly occurred to me that they steal time from you even before that…

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