The cost of a habit is something never properly assessed. On the one hand, smoking undeniably produces some undesirable effects. On the other hand, so does fornication. And, for that matter, so does overeating, which nicotine affects to inhibit. Now, how many of us suffer a diabetes tobacco might have forestalled?

Thus reasoning, tobacco found its way back into my diet. It’s a pleasure I indulge as far as possible from those I love. It is peculiarly mine. My choice.

That it means I am shunned, a bit, and forced out of doors oftimes, is another price of my choice. To dwell with others temporarily beneath the eagle’s roof, thinking of other times and climes. To shiver from d’hiver and the infusion of the dreamy weed. Thus a slow-burning Honduran confection, in our New Ice Age, leaves you open to frozen extremities far more pertinently than the long-term possibilities of malignancy.

There are few choices left to us. So I make this one. Males have one fewer than females.

My boots, sturdy, chance-found, excellent, stand on the frozen concrete of the train station, an amplified male voice barks through a speaker, overwhelming. An interstate express train zooms by. Chain-link fences guard a slow-building restaurant. There is a narrow icy zone from the stairway to the platform.

It is cold and I am enjoying a plug of Swedish tobacco, almost wondering aloud at this weird Christmas season. Most people find my wondering a little too… wonderful, so I hold back from the plenty of observations I am making. I enjoy a place like Socrates at most tables, a glass of hemlock pushed closer and closer to my setting, my hosts wishing, daring, offering…

The found intimacy of strangers assembled around individual campfires of tobacco. Equals for a moment. The game scores are settled. The standouts praised. A brief look at a sky that seems threatening. No need to mention the current situation. This is for me.

I refresh the tiny jolting voltage of the charge within my lip and seal tight the little canister of personal joy. Here’s now.

Right where I left it last time.

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