Days Without a Cigarette: 62.74791667
Days Without Nicotine: 5.74791667
Dollars Saved: $232.41
Time Saved: 88 hours, 55 minutes
I can’t decide if I’ve got another gauntlet to pass through this weekend, or if I’ve got a victory lap to take.
This weekend we’ve got a live show in LA, so I’ve gotta fly across the country this week and spend most of my day tomorrow in airports and on airplanes. Which is something that I fucking hate. And I honestly can’t decide if this is gonna be a test of my ability to not smoke or a celebration of being a nonsmoker.
On the one hand, few things frustrate me more that the whole airline experience. Airport security is certainly the worst aspect of it, but sitting still for hours at a stretch with fuck all to do, overpaying for shitty food, random and poorly communicated delays, and even the architecture of airports themselves all serve to exacerbate that base level of frustration. In the past, of course, I’d reach the finish line on one of these ordeals, haul ass to the first outdoor spot I was legally allowed to elbow my way into, and suck down three cigarettes. But now, with nothing having stepped up to replace nicotine as my go-to frustration antidote, I’ll just have to move straight from that airline experience to LA traffic.
Of course, there’s a flip side to that coin, since nicotine is both the villain and the hero in this story. Sure, it always did a great job calming me down after the flight, but how much of the frustration was just the byproduct of being forced to go without a cigarette for the duration of the flight? Was the cigarette providing a genuine service or was it just cleaning up the mess it made?
Frankly, I’m inclined to believe the former. While I seriously doubt that I’m about to discover that flying is a wonderful experience when you’re a nonsmoker, I’m pretty sure I’m about to find it to be less miserable. And for the first time in my life, I’m gonna really appreciate the fact that domestic flights no longer have a smoking section.
2 thoughts on “Day Sixty Three”
Noah, wrap a damn good homemade ham n cheese sandwich for the flight plus another to eat in traffic. My best flight tip and I always know my sammich is the best food on the flight. No damn condiments for sogginess. Just a butcher sammich, sometimes on a bagel for durability. Travel well!
As a frequent traveler (I’ve got over a million miles on United) and an ex-smoker, I can tell you that flying will still be a quantifiably miserable experience. That said, there are things you can do to make it less miserable:
1) Bring decent food with you. The only thing I buy at airports are overpriced drinks (e.g. a single diet Coke for what I’d normally pay for a 12-pack. Also – only eat when you’d normally eat, don’t eat just because you’re bored.
2) Bring books! Reading on an airplane is the best way to pass the time. Unless you’re too tired to read; in which case, make sure you have episodes all of your favorite podcasts downloaded ahead of time and your phone well-charged: then you can just close your eyes and listen to your heart’s content.
3) If you are not planning to listen to podcasts or music, bring earplugs — the soft foam kind that you can insert into your ear to muffle sound. It makes any screaming children or annoying passengers far easier to ignore.
4) Remember that most airport jobs suck, and the people doing those jobs are surrounded by people who are cranky because they’re experiencing the misery of travel. I try to notice something positive about every service person I encounter and say something nice if I can. If there’s nothing, then at least I look them in the eye and say thank you with sincerity if they do their job without fucking it up. And if they do fuck up, I laugh and say, yeah, sometimes we all have one of *those* days. Being treated as a fellow human being and not an obstacle specifically designed to add to your misery tends to make a difference in how they treat you, and how they treat the next person.
5) If you have an aisle seat, lean in toward the middle seat while other people walk past you so you don’t get their carry-on luggage bashed into your head or shoulder. Most people are completely oblivious when boarding an aircraft, and are conscious only of their own unhappiness.
6) During the flight, if you’re not sleeping, stand up at least once per hour. You don’t have to go anywhere, just do a couple head rolls, shoulder rolls, stretch your back a little and move your legs a little. Makes you a lot more comfortable once you land and get moving again.
I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to join you in Los Angeles — I live about 6 hours north up near Yosemite and would have driven down, but I have company coming next week and a ton of things to do to get ready.
Hope you and Lucinda have a very happy anniversary and that the trip is far less miserable than you anticipate!