Some Kind Of A Test?

This is my 26th smokeless day. It hasn’t been easy. At LEAST a dozen times a day I’m ready to break down, hike up to the Chinos (sort of a Panamanian 7/11 and called a ‘Chino’ because they’re mostly owned and operated by Chinese families) and buy a pack of cigarettes. But I haven’t.

Today I had to go  pay the water bill for the old house. Normally I pay it at a ‘Multipagos’ at either Romero or El Rey supermarkets, but for some reason I couldn’t actually follow, the girl at the Multipagos at Romero said I had to go to IDAAN (the water company) to pay this bill.

The easiest IDAAN office to get to is in Bugaba. That’s also where they make the cigars I enjoyed up until a month ago. Now, I quit smoking cigarettes over two years ago when I switched to cigars. The only advantage of cigars over cigarettes, at least as I see it, is you don’t inhale a cigar and I’ve already done extensive damage to my lungs. But I’m a nicotine addict. Have been since I was 12. And I have to say that I DID enjoy smoking my cigars. Really enjoyed it whereas smoking cigarettes was just shutting off the withdrawal symptoms.

Well, I checked my cash stash and had enough on hnand to buy a month’s supply and still have enough left over to finish off the month without having to go to the bank to get more. So, I went down to El Cruce, where the Boquerón road crosses the InterAmerican Highway to pick up a bus for Bugaba. (It’s in the opposite direction from the buses I ride into David)

There’s a big caseta there. A caseta is a bus waiting station. The one at El Cruce is about 70 feet long. It’s basically a large bench with a roof to keep things dry when it rains. Plopped right down in the middle of the floor of the caseta was a used condom. That gives one pause to think about what must have been going on there last night or early this morning.

There are easily eight or nine different bus routes that stop at El Cruce. Two of those, the Cerro Punta bus and the Serrano bus, pass by the cigar factory. The others don’t. I decided I’d take the first bus that stopped at the caseta and that would determine whether what I would do.

After contemplating the discarded condom for a moment I looked up to see a Cerro Punta bus whiz right on past without even slowing down. Okay. Perhaps the Serrano bus will be next. But it wasn’t it was a Puerto Armuelles bus, it had empty seats and I took it. Now I could have taken that bus into Bugaba and waited around for a CP or Serrano bus and gotten to the cigar factory for an extra 35 cents. But, instead, I got off at the town’s center, walked down to the IDAAN office, paid the bill and put another $10 down against future payments (water’s $2 and change per month), walked the two blocks up to a bus stop and got on a bus and came home.

Right now, I’d REALLY like to have a smoke, but I don’t have anything to light up.



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4 responses to “Some Kind Of A Test?

  1. John and Susan Pazera

    Hola Richard,

    Good for you!! That is what I call resisting temptation. You are much stronger than I would be. Just know that you made a good decision for your health and tomorrow will be easier 🙂

    I think I have the same kinds of challenges with food. I eat junk food when I’m bored or lonely or missing John when he’s traveling. If I can somehow find something else to do to distract me, it’s easier and the temptation passes. I know it’s not the same thing as a nicotine habit, but it does help a bit.

    We are looking forward to being down here and seeing you again. Take care of yourself.

    I don’t know about the resisting temptation thing. If that Cerro Punta bus had stopped at La Caseta I’d be smoking a cigar right now. I don’t often have a reason to go to Bugaba, though it’s a pretty nice place, really. After paying the initial water bill I put $10 down to pay in advance, and that covers the next five months, so there’s no reason to go near the cigar factory for a while now.

    I think you and John would fit in down here quite well. Certainly look forward to having the opportunity to spend some time with the two of you again in the future.

  2. Capt Dan

    Richard, I have shared your addiction for the same amount of time as have you. It’s not hard to quit, I’ve done it hundreds of times! You must be having compelling health reasons, can’t breath or walk, like me, to finally push you over the edge. I admire your courage to do so, wish I could do so myself and wish you the very best in your quest to be free of it. It’s expensive too! In the times I’ve been quitting, I also lose the ability to think and speak clearly. I wish you a far reach all the way back to home port on this!

    My inability to think and speak clearly is in no way related to setting fire to cylinders of tobacco. There’s something to be said for the savings to be had by not smoking. This past month of not buying cigars is the equivalent to half the cost of the t.v. set I bought recently.

    All things considered, though, I’d REALLY like a cigar right this minute. But I don’t have one and I’m not going out to get one, either. As I said in another reply to this post, if the Cerro Punta bus HAD stopped yesterday I would have bought some cigars.

    • Capt Dan

      How’s it going Richard? I know how difficult this must be, I’m sure I couldn’t stand what you’re going through! I want my cigs right now!

  3. Good for you!! Hang in there for the health of your body and your bank account. As a past smoker I know how tough it is. The first month is very hard, and the first year is a challenge but the old habits start to fade. It’s been 17-18 years for me and I don’t even think of it, except to be thankful I’m free of that addiction, and thankful I don’t have to buy cigarettes at today’s prices. Hang in there and it will get better.