Thursday, January 15

They seemed like innocent words; maybe I heard them wrong
My Lesbian Studies class is going to be smooth sailing, as far as I can tell. The professor seems extremely laid back, and the course content is dictated by what we want to do. I can't imagine I'll learn much of anything, except perhaps the perspectives of actual, real-life lesbians. In the flesh! In their natural habitat! Crikey! Hopefully, if the class devolves into a group therapy session (which many of my discussion classes have), these women (and one guy) will have poignant things to share, and not just trite observations about living with a vagina. Yawn. I have so been there already. That class was Intro to Women's Studies.

In other news, I went into Phil's store today to grab a snack before trucking it to the library for a few hours, and I see him about 3/4 done with a cigarette. Phil contends that he doesn't smoke. Mind you, this is a scene we have acted out at least three times before. He tells me he is quitting smoking -- or that he doesn't smoke or like smoking -- and then I catch him off his guard, smoking. And every time he's like, "I don't smoke! I swear!"

This time, I was tight-lipped as I was checking out, and he walked me out to my car. I clearly wasn't in the mood to ponder the significance of his need to hide such a minor infraction from me off and on for years, or the obvious problem I have with his smoking due to his father's death at age 44 from smoking-related lung cancer. No, I just wanted to get to work on time. And to make sure he remembered all those conversations we've had in the past few years about his not smoking anymore and what a relief that is to both of us. And maybe to tweak his memory into remembering all those times he said he actually hates smoking and he's never really liked it and is so glad that he doesn't do it anymore, lest he end up like all those coughing, yellowed, spindly smokers he works with and waits on every day.

But he took the initiative to defend himself by saying, "Did you see me with a cigarette? It wasn't even mine. I borrowed it from [this kid Jeremy he works with]. Don't be mad and think I'm a hypocrite or anything! I was just on a break and ..."

I have to be honest; that's all my bullshit receiver picked up. By that time, I was nodding impatiently and trying to remind him that I had to go to work. Like an idiot, he leaned in for a kiss, and I gave him the tiniest peck I could muster, because he smelled like he had already made out with an ashtray.

And every rational part of me knows that such an event is so minor when everything else is so good. But a nagging voice wants me not to forget that all is not well if he finds it OK to, year after year, hide something so insignificant from me. Am I really that much of a big, scary bitch? I am fine with him smoking. OK, I'm not. But I am willing to put up with it if he will be honest and say, "Look, smoking is a part of my identity. With enough peer pressure as a teen, I decided that sacrificing my health and good smell was a good bargain, considering the cultural and societal gains I will acquire for this action. Plus I have an addiction and a death wish, and I really can't give those up right now. Or ever. So let me be."


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