My favorite time at the tidepool was the change of tides. But my repose was marred by the acrid stink of a cigarette.
I had quit smoking some nine weeks before, my longest time without a smoke. But my wife was sitting right next to me, puffing in my face. ” I asked you if you would please come and speak to Daddy. He’s on the telephone and wants to know if you’d checked on the boat today.” My wife had quit smoking at the same time I had but hadn’t made it through the first twenty-four hours. If we were convicts, tobacco addiction certainly was our crime. As my time without a smoke lengthened, It seemed that I might escape the prison.
She was having problems coping with my smoke-free life.
Stretching out, I got off the rocks and scrambled up to the road. Georgia walked beside me, a tall skinny chimney. Nothing irritates a new non-smoker as much as a newly failed non-smoker. He knows that failure is potentially just around the corner. The proof of this is beside him. The recently fallen non-smoker has other issues with the quitter; the successful quitter offers evidence of failure. To Georgia, doing that to your beloved was a high crime and misdemeanor.
Of course, back at the house, I found the newly opened pack of cigarettes right beside the phone. The Cap’n was on the line and fuming that I’d left him hanging so long. I assured him that the love of his life, the 34-foot ketch Psyche, was fine. The boat swung peacefully only yards away from the tidepool. It seemed that his anxiety grew the closer he and his wife Cora came to their homecoming from a winter in Florida.
Several days later, the Capn’ and Cora arrived home. What followed was a litany of “why did you’s” and “why didn’t you’s.” I’m afraid that the stress drove me back to smoking. One day soon after their return, My wife was helping me strip off the heavy-duty rub rail we had installed on the boat for winter. We both had cigarettes dangling from our mouths. The Capn’ rowed up to us on one of his inspection tours. He sat there quietly in the skiff, saying nothing for a while. Then he pulled out his pipe and tobacco, filled the pipe, tamped it, and slowly lit it. Then, pointing his pipe at me, he opined, ” couldn’t get rid of that filthy habit, could you?” We both fumed.