Tag Archives: smoking

Urine Vinaigrette: e-cigarette

I must be feeling better today, because I am pissed off and feel it necessary to share it with the world. I know that depression and rage are opposite signs of the same coin, so I’m not getting my hopes up too much, but I still feel that’s it’s a good sign that I can turn my rage back outward. There were two things which set me off this morning: my lovely daughter, and some anti-vaping propaganda. Being upset with my daughter is nothing new; we are usually arguing at least five out of every seven days. But seeing the nonsense about the dangers of e-cigarettes is something that is not only irritating, but fundamentally confounding as well. The entire point of vaping is to avoid the public health consequences of secondhand smoke. It’s times like this that make me want to hurry up and find that time machine so I can pop back to nineteenth-century London and nip in for a lost weekend at one of their many fine opium dens. I totally look scruffy enough (or, I did before I shaved in preparation for a call regarding an interview which never came) to pass for one the intentionally befuddled.

I get that nicotine is bad for me. I knew it growing up, when almost everyone around me smoked. I remember restaurants with “smoking” and “non-smoking” sections, separated by only the slightest hint of air conditioning between them, if even that. Hell, my mother even smoked while I was gestating in the womb! I also remember when she finally gave up smoking, and the unrelenting waves of anger and irrationality which consumed her. I mean, the prednisone didn’t help, either, but apparently she needed it to breathe. On a small side note, I have never met someone even remotely tolerable who was under the influence of prednisone, and the prefix of “pred-” always makes me think of some sort of cantankerous lion who not only wants his evening meal, but intends to make it suffer for the trouble of having had to catch it. I remember jumping on the anti-smoking bandwagon when that was a thing, and lecturing my entire family about the health risks involved with smoking. Hell, I was doing this before the major talking points included the health risks which smoking posed to others! I still wound up smoking, though, as I was kind of weird, and desperate (though I would never have admitted it) to at least appear thirty percent cooler.

And I know that I should give up cigarettes, as they are most likely not making my life any easier. I’m tired of the recriminations from my wife and son about the smell, and the need to have just a couple of moments of peace and quiet to myself. I’m also a bit weary of standing outside in the pouring rain when I need to have a smoke (though if it would fix the drought, I’d gladly suffer this more often). If I’m at a bar, I hate that I have got to get up and go outside to light up. I would understand if it were a vegan restaurant, or Whole Foods, but it’s not like alcohol has no ill effects. It can destroy a person’s liver and their life, as well as those around them, if they get behind the wheel after tossing back a few. And yet there is the push to demonize smokers for having fallen victim to the evils of tobacco. And now that e-cigarettes have addressed the issues of secondhand smoke inhalation, what are the anti-smoking people doing?

They are pushing to ban “vaping” (also, can we get a better verb? Vaping sounds… vaguely dirty) in the same places where smoking is not allowed, saying that seeing people puffing on a simulated cigarette normalizes and implicitly condones the act of smoking for the youngsters. I would like to remind everyone that these products are still only to be sold to those people who have achieved the age of majority. These are still legal products. But even that is not enough. Now they are pushing an ad campaign stating that there is enough nicotine in the bottles of the e-cigarette solutions to kill tens of children! You know, if some idiot leaves the bottle unscrewed, and out where his kid can grab it. Maybe it’s just the background level of annoyance which I’m feeling so viscerally today, but it seems to me that if a parent leaves that sort of thing out where their kid can grab it, maybe it’s time for natural selection to do its job. Kids will get into literally everything. That’s the point of kids: they exist to teach you how to cram everything you own up onto shelves which they cannot reach. Never mind the cleaning chemicals which are far deadlier, which have not been outlawed yet.

If it was a matter of protecting children from accidental death, why are guns still legal? Oh, because that would infringe upon a person’s rights! Never mind the ridiculously high number of gun deaths, accidental or intentional, in the U.S. compared to the rest of the entire world! I’m not saying that guns should be outlawed, at least not right now. Let the world have its toys which were created as a means to kill people more quickly and efficiently. I’m just saying that it’s kind of bullshit to go on crusades against an “easy target” when there are bigger fish to fry. E-cigarettes, at least at first, were an elegant solution to a public health crisis. They addressed the health risks involved with smoking (as in, inhalation of combusted plant material), and offered up a way to help some people give up nicotine altogether. But there is no tax money involved in actually getting people to stop smoking, and that’s the real reason for the fight against e-cigarettes. We already have exorbitant taxes of tobacco products, both as a disincentive to smokers, and as a measure of relief to a burdened health care system (at least on paper), but as the manufacturers and vendors of e-cigarettes have rightly pointed out, their products are not tobacco, and therefore are not subject to anything more strenuous than the standard sales tax (where applicable).

I’m not saying that e-cigarettes are healthy; I’m pretty sure that the voluntary consumption of nicotine will never be a good idea. But they are a healthier alternative to smoking, both for the user and for those around him. There are not a whole lot of regulations right now in the e-cigarette liquid industry, and therefore there isn’t a standard set of chemicals for the FDA to use to determine the effects for the use of e-cigarettes, for both short and long-term use. When the findings are announced, if it turns out that they are somehow worse than traditional cigarettes, I will join the push to make them safer. If they are deemed equal in terms of health risk with cigarettes, I will still say that they have eliminated the issue of secondhand smoke, and therefore the need to ostracize and dehumanize smokers. And if they are deemed safer than standard tobacco products, I would like everyone who has been trying to get them banned to just go ahead and shut their bloody mouths. And just so you guys don’t think that I haven’t been paying attention, here’s a link to the FDA page in question.

Now, onto the issue of my daughter: I hate when she buys something, insists that no one but her can use it (while she and my son-in-law happily consume the meals which we prepare and share with them (not to mention that when they cook, they cook only for themselves) because we are a family), and then winds up just throwing it into the garbage. We have thrown out so many pounds of what had been perfectly good food that, in the time she has been living with us, it has probably weighed in at an actual ton. I’m just mentioning this because I needed to use something off-label to help fix something in my son’s mouth because he is a little terrified of almost everything, and if something isn’t done about that dead tooth, it’s going to throw off the entire balance of his mouth, not to mention, put his entire jaw at risk of serious infection. There were three unopened cans of the product which I needed (of those, I only required one), but she handed me the empty canister, and then demanded that we pay her back for it. A small amount of sleuthing led me to discover that not only had that can expired back in April, but the other can of the same brand had expired a day later. She would rather throw things out than either learn to properly shop for groceries, or relearn the lessons which she had apparently missed in Kindergarten. Whatever.

At least the irritation got me writing again.

Practical Ennui

The other night, I finally sat down to start working on the story which I promised you all last week. And you want to know something? It was kind of fun. I’ve been doing these columns almost daily for the past six months, and, though I like writing with such frequency, it’s not quite the same as focusing all my energy on a piece of fiction. With this blog, I can ramble on about whatever strikes my fancy, with no regard to what I wrote even the day before. But coming back to the same story day after day, worrying about continuity in events and tone, well, I’m more out of practice with all of that than I was with writing back when I reopened the Vaults in December. In truth, I’ve never really had to sit down and try to figure out how to keep a story going. Most everything I wrote before could most generously be defined as “Short Fiction”, apart from that poetry kick I was on for the better part of a decade. In all honesty, the last thing I wrote which was longer than a page or two was the novel I started when I was in the Eighth Grade (which I only did so that I wouldn’t have to be bothered with doing actual schoolwork). I’ve had a couple of friends tell me that my intransigence that year helped inspire an “alternative” track, and that there may somewhere be a copy of the babble which I penned so long ago. I don’t know whether I’d rather read it for nostalgia, or have it expunged from the physical world.

Then again, I still peruse the book my class made in the Third Grade, so I’d probably want to see it at least once more before I die. It was horrible, to be sure. I’d finished rereading the Dragonlance Chronicles, and thought that I was good enough to try my hand at fantasy. I drew some maps, and came up with a backstory which was, charitably, an homage of every tired and recycled trope of fantastic fiction that had ever come before. I was fairly proud of myself. But it’s hard to write with any sort of authority when you’ve only read about the things your characters are doing, and have not the slightest clue why coffee follows a night of drinking, or what drinking is even like, not to mention a complete lack of understanding of what hangovers are. I mean, I didn’t even start sneaking sips of my grandparents’ booze until my Freshman year of High School, and I didn’t get my first hangover until the first time that I drank Gin, nearly two and a half years later. I hadn’t gone out camping, or even built a fire. Hell, I wasn’t even allowed to play with knives, so the sum total of my experience with the swords which I was describing came from repeated viewings of Highlander. But I kept working on that book. Even after the school year ended, I kept plugging away at that story. My Grandfather took me on a trip that summer (mainly, I believe, to get me the hell out of the house, and give my Mom a vacation from me), and I packed my notebooks with me, and was writing every day.

I don’t remember when I stopped working on it, but I think it was at least a week or two before the school year started up again. By then, I was worried about taking Honors English, and hoping that maybe I’d have the chance (finally) to stop worrying about assholes and get down to learning. I should have known that High School would be just like Middle School, except all the jerks were far more practiced. And there was the distraction of the girls. By the time January had arrived, I’d all but given up. I was disillusioned with the entire experience of education, and my bi-polar disorder (still undiagnosed) was just beginning to come into its own. Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled that I never actually tried to get that piece of garbage published, but I’m still a little saddened by how easily I managed to give it all up. Looks like that’s not really a new development in the life of Mr. Batmart. Hell, the name Tex Batmart didn’t even come into existence until I had turned eighteen.

All of this cute, and, I’m sure, terribly informative, but if I can just take the tiniest of breaks from this ennui in which I’m bathing, I’d like to get back to my original point (hold on while I scroll up and try to figure out exactly what it was):

Yeah, I’m not sure that I actually had one. Writing is Hard, maybe? Or, I’m Wasted on Cross-Country? No, that was dwarves. Interesting digression: I think it was my Junior year in High School when the track coach approached me through a friend of my to see if I’d be interested in joining the cross-country team. He’d seen me (literally) running circles around one of his athletes as he’d been making his way around the track. I’d only been doing it because he was dating this girl who my friend was desperately in love with, and it was fun to show off and harass him. I politely declined the offer, as the Athletic Department was a bit more serious about their Anti-Drug Pledge than the Theatre Department or Debate Team, and I wanted to leave my options open. That, and I really didn’t relish the thought of intentional exercise. I rode my bike to school every day, and rode it home again (and due to the geographic peculiarities of the Island, I did indeed ride uphill both ways), not to mention walking almost everywhere else when I didn’t want to take my bike. But running for fun? What was the point in that? Plus, I would have probably had to give up smoking, and I’d only just started doing that for real (ah, back when every cigarette rewarded me with a Nic Buzz (and now I have another idea for a thing. Maybe I really will just go with Batmart Begins (not its real title), and just tie in all my old stories together like they were all on purpose), and I actually enjoyed smoking (not to mention that I looked 30% cooler) with my friends).

Photo by David Banuelos
If it wasn’t for that cigarette, I’d look like a total dork!

Travel: Welcome To The U.S.

I had arrived two minutes early to meet my nephew at SFO, only to discover that his flight was now running almost forty minutes late. I did the math in my head, and figured that, with baggage claims and customs, I would likely not be meeting up with him for at least another hour. At that point, I went outside and smoked a cigarette, and tried to decide if I was hungry enough to pay airport prices for something quick to eat. I was not. I put out my smoke, and wandered around the airport, trying to figure out where exactly it was that I was supposed to meet him. There didn’t seem to be anywhere that looked even remotely like where I was supposed to go. On my sixth lap of the lobby, I finally noticed some escalators off to the side, and figured since I still had plenty of time, I could afford a little exploration. I rode it down, and discovered the place that I’d been looking for. I checked the screens to see which of the exits he was most likely to wind up using, and then camped myself in front of it. After a while, I thought that it might have been a smart move to bring some paper and a pen to make a little sign, as my nephew and I had never met before, but quickly filed that line of thought away as it wasn’t particularly helpful at that moment.

12:37 came and went, and the screens still reported that the plane hadn’t even landed yet. I began jonesing for another smoke, but decided against it. Knowing my luck, they’d have landed, gotten through customs, and my nephew would be walking all around the airport (without cell service) trying to find me in the eight minutes it would have taken to get back to the designated smoking area, do my thing, and then get back to where I was supposed to be. Instead, I watched flight after flight of Koreans and Indians exit the customs gate, and was constantly bumped, nudged, and forced to move out of the way of people who did not know how to get out of the way while figuring out their next move. I pounded another Red Bull which I’d stashed in my backpack, and suddenly realized that I had no idea where to find the nearest restroom. Just then, the screen changed the status of the flight for which I had been waiting to “In Customs,” which meant that I would have to stick around, as he would be walking out of that hallway any time between right then and who knew when. I looked for a nearby seat to plop myself down upon, but the massive influx of travelers had taken that option away from me as well. I queued up behind the limo drivers with their fancy signs and tablets, and looked down at the only photo I had of this nephew whom I’d never met.

I was just about to give up when I saw someone in a fancy jacket walk into view. He looked vaguely familiar, though I was sure I’d never met him, and for a moment I felt really racist when I thought maybe all Mexicans looked the same. He walked around the roped off barrier, and then locked eyes with me again. I was almost sure that this was my nephew. He walked toward me, and I asked, “Unai?” At almost the same time, he asked if I was [Tex], and we both shared that awkward chuckle of two people meeting for the first time. I noticed he was coughing, and we both thought that he was a little parched from breathing in recycled air for the duration of his flight. I offered him my last can of Red Bull, which he pounded like a pro, and then we went off in search of a SIM card for his phone. There was a little kiosk about a hundred yards behind us, so we went to check out what nonsensical prices they were charging. The cheapest offer for what he needed was $80 for eight days, only four of which he would be needing. We decided that we could do better (and he had to grab a bottle of water), so we rode the escalator back upstairs and found the nearest shop so that he could finally be gouged in America.

He offered to buy me drink to replace the one I’d offered him, but I took a look at the price and politely declined. I wasn’t about to let him pay $6 for a twelve ounce can of Red Bull. Unai bought his water, and we walked outside so that I could smoke a cigarette. He bummed one off of me (six hours of travel will build up quite the desire), and we talked about his flight while calming the nicotine beasts inside of us. He got a security guard to take a picture of us (which, sadly, I do not possess), and then I whipped out my trusty Nikon and got one of him.

BTW, that bottle of water cost $3.29
BTW, that bottle of water cost $3.29


When our nerves were finally calmed, I led him to the BART, got him set up with his ticket, and got us onto the train. I’d been told that he’d wanted to be shown around San Francisco, but he told me that he’d rather just drop off his oversized luggage, and save the trip for another day. But I was able to show him how to transfer when we switched to the Richmond line (in case he wanted to do a little exploring on his own) at the very next station, and then spent the remainder of the ride trading stories with him. I’d been nervous that I’d be stuck with someone whom I was not allowed to ditch, and that I’d have to be nice to him, or my wife would never forgive me. As it turned out, I had a blast, and was glad that I had been able to go and meet him the airport. We got off at El Cerrito del Norte, picked up a couple of bottles of cider from Safeway, and I introduced my nephew to the AC Transit.

A short while later, we arrived in Not Quite Richmond, and make a quick detour to a different market to pick up a couple of two liter sodas. We were loaded with beverages, and the sun was beating down as we finally entered the home stretch of our journey. We got to the apartment less than ten minutes later, where Unai was practically tackled by his aunt, who hadn’t seen him for the past eleven years. Once he was settled, Flor served us all some dinner, and sat and chatted like a family until the sun the went down. Well, almost.

We did make a quick side trip to the MetroPCS store, but I’ll save that for the next post. We finished up that evening, and my sister-in-law drove my nephew back to their apartment, which had been pre-designated as his place of residence while he was visiting this time. We made plans to meet up in the morning, and I went right to sleep. After watching a couple of hours of M*A*S*H.


The Afterglow of Insomnia

I still can’t get to sleep. Don’t get me wrong: I slept last night, but only for a little over five hours. I don’t know why it is that I haven’t been able to get to sleep before two o’clock in the morning. I’m going to try to avoid taking a nap today, but I make no promises, for insomnia is a harsh mistress. But at least last night I managed to be moderately productive. After being inspired by a comment about a mistranslation, I sat down and busted out a cheesy grunge-inspired song. Well, the lyrics anyway. I’ve now passed them over to Bad Leon Suave, who will add some music and turn it into a proper tune- I hope. But there is so much left to do to get the apartment into shape before our company arrives. Even I, the bastion of not giving even the slightest crap about home maintenance, have begun to feel a little urge to get stuff cleaned and/or put away. And considering that I will be attending a fast food protest/strike tomorrow with my wife, I guess that means we have a lot to get accomplished by the end of the day. I just wish that I wasn’t so exhausted.

It’s not like this is my first bout of insomnia. I’ve been unable to get to bed at a reasonable hour for most of my adult life. Part of that is due to the fact that I’m naturally a night owl, and part of it has to do with not having time to myself to finally decompress. Yes, Virginia, even unemployed writers occasionally need to blow off steam. I thought that I might be able to fall back into a more normal rhythm (at least for me), switching to full-on nocturnal once I was no longer working. But things kept coming up, and now I’m basically on the same schedule that I had when I was working, give or take an hour. I will say that getting my son ready for school and out the door is a far greater challenge than just getting myself ready and off to work. I have a good autopilot system, and would usually finally begin to feel the hints of consciousness somewhere halfway through the BART ride. Being responsible for another human being in the morning is mind-numbingly difficult, especially if it seems like that person is doing all he can to sabotage the whole endeavor.

Me: Come on, get up and get dressed.

David: Ugghhh…. Why?!

Me: School.

David: (angrier) Ugghhh! Fine! I’m not going!

Me: Dude, come on! Let’s get changed out of your jammies and put on your clothes.

David: I need to go pee.

Me: You don’t need my permission.

David: (goes to bathroom.)

Five minutes later, with no sounds whatsoever resembling the flow of liquid…

Me: You done in there?

David: No….

Me: Come on, let’s get a move on!

David: (opens door unexpectedly, wearing only his tank top) Uggghhh….

Me: Dude! Pants!

David: Do I have to?

Me: No one likes wearing pants, but it’s cold outside, so just do it.

David: Fine! But I won’t like it!

Me: I accept your terms. Let’s go.

David: (gets dressed slowly, attempting to raise my blood pressure, not finishing for another five minutes)

The rest of the morning is just more of the same, and it isn’t until I finally let go of his hand when we’ve arrived outside the school that he seems to remember that he knows how to do things. I’ll try to give him one last smooch, and tell him that I love him, and he’ll wipe his face and look around to see if any of his friends have seen him. He’ll tell me goodbye with the finality of a dismissal, and then walk toward the door to disappear inside so that he can go and play. And then, just as he’s about to pass through the doorway, he runs quickly back and throws his arms around me, and tells me, “Last hug!” without a trace of the self-consciousness which wholly consumed him not a moment before. I hug him back, and tell him that I love him, and that I believe in him. And to have a great day. He then runs back inside, still my little boy, but growing up all the same. I can see from time to time, glimpses of the person he’s becoming, and I think to myself that maybe he’ll turn out okay.

And then I come back to my quiet home (everyone else will be sleeping in ’til noon), power up the laptop, and try to think of what I want to say. Don’t tell my wife, but one of the reasons that I love walking her to work is that it usually gives me a little extra time to mull over things when I’m sipping coffee on my walk back. There’s something beautiful about the world in that hour before dawn, and while I would never set an alarm to see it, I’ve spent many nights awake in eager anticipation of its arrival. There are hardly any cars, and I can wander down the streets and work out the first couple of paragraphs in my head, playing with the narrative while talking to myself. I’m not afraid of what other folks may think, and the best way to protect yourself from those who might seek to harm you is to appear exponentially more batshit crazy than even they can manage. We can smell our own, you see. And after spending a night wrestling with insomnia, it’s really not that much of an act.

This e-cigarette just isn’t cutting it. I need the rich, full flavor of combusted tobacco product. I’ve been really bad about staying away from the real thing (ultra lights, though they be), and now I’m pretty much back to where I was before my lungs went on strike. I want to keep living like I’m still in my twenties, but my body keeps reminding me that’s not really feasible. One of these days I’m going to wake up and suddenly discover that I have a spark of self-preservation in me, but today is not that day.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing something about strikes and unions, and Thursday will be a series of shorter posts which will chronicle my adventures in the city with my newly arrived nephew.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!



We’ll see how it goes, but I’ve been trying to give up smoking this weekend. Quitter! Beginning on Friday, I made a whole pack last until last night, which, for those of you keeping score at home, means that I tripled the length of that pack’s life. And thanks to my electronic cigarette, I haven’t really been going through withdrawal. And considering that “smoking” one of those is one of the more unsatisfying experiences I have had to endure. It’s similar to chewing nicotine gum, with the tingly, pepper sensation, but with the added benefit of never knowing how much vapor and nicotine I will be inhaling on any given draw. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that it’s helping with the chemical addiction, but is nothing I look forward to. It is my hope that by going through this, I may finally be able to give my lungs a small chance to recuperate. I will say that I am going to miss stepping outside on a perfect day, and enjoying a quick visit to Flavor Country. I will probably miss it less on the days when the sun is in full force, or the wind and rain are running horizontally like packs of wolves with bared and bloody teeth.

I’ve been smoking for close to nineteen years, and it’s finally gotten to the point that I’m tired of the annual visits from bronchitis fairy. Honestly, if it weren’t for the month or so every year that I spend feeling horrible and unable to breathe properly, I’d probably keep smoking. I like to use cigarettes to punctuate the moments of my life. It’s hard to do that with a metal tube. That, and I’m really never certain when it is that I am finished “smoking.” With a cigarette, you’re done when the cherry hits the filter; it has a built-in expiration. With an electronic nicotine delivery device, you just keep going until you feel like it’s time to puke. Also, the flavor isn’t terribly compelling. My son-in-law bought one of those fancy, expensive robot penises that he refills with various bottles of flavored nicotine solution. He was debating picking up a bottle flavored like Banana Runts, and I told him that he was the reason that we couldn’t have nice things. I don’t know, maybe I’m turning into Denis Leary.

I think that cigarettes should be “cigarette” flavored. Now we have nicotine liquids for every taste imaginable, and it just makes me think, Why? If you’re already smoking, and looking for an alternative to combusted tobacco, then be a damned grown-up, and deal with the flavor. It’s bad enough that some folks need their smokes to taste minty fresh. I mean, sure, I miss cocktail cigarettes (Izmir Stingers were delicious!), but I could understand the reasoning behind the ban on child-friendly flavorings. It’s not like nicotine itself is all that great for you, and I myself don’t see the need to entice new customers into a lifelong and health-damaging addiction. The science is only just beginning to trickle in for e-cigarettes, but I think we can all agree that they are a safer alternative to smoking, not a safe alternative. What a world of difference that little “r” will make.

When I was growing up, almost all the adults around me were usually smoking. I remember back when restaurants had smoking sections that were separated from the non-smoking section by a curtain of air conditioning (if it was a fancy place). Once I got to school, I recall harassing my mother and grandparents about the myriad dangers of tobacco use, and I also remember when my mother decided to give up smoking, and how much I hated her for years after. My grandmother quit a few years later, prompted by a heart attack and helicopter view of the Puget Sound. In the years that followed, everyone else began to quit, leaving me the only one who’d step outside into the rain to light up and “get some air.” While typing this, I have been dutifully puffing away on my e-cigarette, topping off the nicotine pulsing through my bloodstream, and yet the only thing that I can think of is how badly I want a real cigarette. It seems that March is the month to give up vices. I can’t imagine how I will endure it, but I imagine that I will not have any other choice.

There are no compelling reasons to take up smoking in the 21st century. Tobacco is on its way out, and no one looks cool fellating an android. I’m not one of those obnoxious idiots who think that we should expunge all instances of smoking from the entertainment from the past, nor do I believe that we should ban all future examples of smoking from the entertainment of the future. I think that may have been why I took up smoking in the first place. Even though I knew that it was horrible for me, I took a certain pleasure in defying the calls for outlawing this common weed. The more we try to demonize tobacco, the cooler we will make it seem to the children of tomorrow. It’s hard to rebel against the cold logic of scientific fact (despite what House Republicans so fervently believe), but a teenage mind can find the merest hint of traction and grab hold for all that it is worth if adults stray from factual representations and head down the path toward specious moralization. And contrary to my shouts regarding liberty for my lawn, teenagers are merely hampered by lack of experience, not stupidity. Remind me to hide this from David William in about six to ten years.

It’s not that I am suddenly overwhelmed by a desire to see what the year 2030 will look like, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world for me to see my son become a man, or my grandson and granddaughter grow up as well. I got the chance to be a grandpa in my early to mid-thirties, and that gives me a realistic opportunity to watch all the little babies become people in their own right. Maybe I’m just becoming overly sentimental in my deepening age, but I think I’d like to spend a just a tad longer enjoying their company. I hate finding reasons to keep on living. It just feels so… normal. Is this what regular people do? And all of this because last night, when I should really have been sleeping, I went out into the living room and spent some time with my toddler grandson. He had me pick him up, while he played with a butterfly shaped squeeze toy, and then, for some reason, we both broke down into a case of uncontrollable giggles, laughing without reason or self-awareness of a good seven minutes. It was a moment which reminded me of all the fun I used to have with David, and all the fun I’ll soon be having with little Jennivee. Maybe sticking around for a little while longer isn’t the worst thing, after all.