Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This Is A Non-Smoking Facility

I love watching The Exorcist, not only for the great theatrical pea soup antics of Linda Blair or the angst of Father Damien Karras , but most of all for the smoking. Every character seems to smoke and they smoke everywhere: their houses, restaurants, work, the doctor's office (!). It was, as they say, a different time. When I told a visiting out-of-town friend that I let people smoke in my house, she said in mock horror, That's so retro! I don't smoke. The one time I tried in earnest I set my bangs on fire, big Texas 80s bangs, sprayed to death with White Rain hairspray. I put myself out with the palm of my hand and smelled burnt hour for days, no matter how many times I washed it. It was, one could say, a deterrent.

Whenever I'm in an airport, I look for the smokers, the people who appear more miserable than I am, the ones clutching the boxes in their shirts and purses like talismans of a better time. Sometimes there's a bar or two that smokers can use -- these eventually look like versions of Dante's hell, an glass-enclosed box of smoke. When my father died suddenly, I had to catch a flight to go home. The only bar in the section of the airport I was waiting in was a Sky Box that allowed smoking. I peered in and saw people taking comfort in what would probably be their last cigarette for hours. They looked sad, even if their sacrifice was taking them somewhere wonderful. I set my bags down close to me, having the misguided belief that if I'm not clutching something, I will most certainly lose it, and ordered a vodka martini. There was no reprieve from the smoke because of the room's unfortunate ventilation. I breathed in the smoke like everyone else. It stuck to my hair and my clothes, as if I had been smoking. There was no getting away from it.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"The victim's belief in possession is what helped cause it, so in that same way, a belief in the power of exorcism can make it disappear." William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist

Cocktail Hour

Drinking Movie Suggestion: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Benedictions and Maledictions


One need not try for this --
it is always there, the imperfections
that seek out the stage, so hopeless
and alone. Have you ever believed
something that wasn’t true, held
that truth in your hand, guarding
your nothing? You made the calls,
rented the hall, only to find
you were a few feet from an ocean
you couldn’t swim in because you were
too busy in your need to cancel everything,
inconsolable except for the tides that
come and go as they damn well please.


AP said...

I love your blog, Michelle. I read it every day and I look forward to reading it, actually yearn for it the way I once yearned for the Detroit Free Press when Neal Shine, Joe Stroud and Bob Talbert worked at the Freep. That was a golden era. You're golden, Michelle. I don't smoke. I'm gonna try to track down that spotless mind movie.--AP

paul said...

O Might Isis i smoke things and maybe that's -y- i like to sleep in when ever i can. your poem's good and a bummer at one and the same time i am also under your spell Foxy Lady as if you didn'y know R2 C2!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I often heard inmates complaining about the prison doctor that used to work at our facility. It never mattered what ailment they had--broken arm, torn ligament, or puncture wound--he always started out by asking them "do you smoke?" as if that was the cause of all their troubles.

I remember prepping my mother-in-law's kitchen for a coat of paint. First, I had to wash the walls with Soilax. My deceased father-in-law's years of pipe smoking left me making frequent water changes as a scrubbed away.

John Ricci said...

Darling poet, yet another enchanting post as always. So lovely. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Exorcist? All right then, I am on them. As well as The Ex II and III, to be sure. Bravo!

Jamie said...

Fortunately for my health, I never started smoking. I credit my older brother for being on a big anti-smoking kick during my formative years. Ironicaly, he started smoking himself, and has always been hooked.
It'll be cool when smokers have their own personal air filter devices they can carry around, so they can smoke, and not affect others.