The first time I lapsed was in the mid-aughts. I was driving to O’Hare to pick up my mother, and was so anxious about what I’d find that I stopped at a convenience store for a pack of Camel Filters. I hadn’t smoked in a couple of years, but, boy, did it sink back in with a vengeance. I got to the airport, parked the car, conducted a somewhat frantic search, and found my mom in the wrong terminal, wearing a large wooden cross and chatting amiably with a stranger.
I must confess I continued chain smoking throughout her visit, shepherding her to Wrigley Field, paying $50 bucks for parking, leaving her with a vendor for safekeeping, etc, etc. “Oh, Kathleen, just stop it,” she’d say of my puffing. But that took me a while.