I started smoking cigarettes this summer. This will come as a serious disappointment to my lungs, 5K time and my mother when she reads this column. Smoking compromises my physical health while simultaneously enhancing my social life, which is why I don’t intend to quit soon.
One of the things I love about smoking is its ability to instantly disrupt social barriers we construct in public and private spaces. People smoking can always find something to discuss, whether they’re the loathsome flagpole-people or my uncle and me discussing his life’s career in journalism. But it’s the informal, unplanned interactions I love the most.
Wednesday afternoon’s tornadic winds crippled Duke Energy’s ability to keep my house heated and my soy milk from spoiling. At 1:30 a.m., the howling wind called me outside to decompress with an American Spirit.
Three units down from my apartment unit, voices echoed over the parking lot that sits under our complex’s 10-foot-tall decks. Those voices sounded friendly and beckoned this lonesome degenerate to offer a bummed cig.
An hour later, I had made numerous friends of neighbors who, until my seventh month of residence, I had never bothered to meet. One also writes for The Daily Tar Heel, and we created a great connection discussing her fantastic investigative reporting, a fading feature of this publication. I left with a phone number and the knowledge that my neighbors aren’t just folks who happen to live near me.