Betty has started smoking again.
I hate smoking. Absolutely loathe it.
Both our parents smoked when we were kids. My mother had this very long, sleek, carved ivory cigarette holder. My earliest childhood memories involve my parents hosting preprandial cocktails on the veranda and smoking.
All the embassy parties we went to were elegant. People were always dressed up. And they always smoked. And as a result, I have always liked how smoking looks - very sophisticated. I just hate everything else about it.
My brother and I went through a period where we'd do everything possible to dissuade our parents from smoking. When we went out to restaurants and they lit cigarettes, we'd create a scene. We'd hack, we'd cough. Eventually at least one of us would fall on the floor in mock faint, having strangled on the cigarette smoke.
No exaggeration. "Cough cough! Aaaaack!" Fall off chair. Arms and legs straight up in the air.
In high school all my friends smoked, and when they came over, they'd hang out and have a cigarette with Betty. I was the only non-smoker I knew.
Eventually they both my parents did quit, though, and my dad hasn't smoked in years and years.
But recently Betty started again. She'll go out in the garden and smoke.
The other day she said, "Please don't get mad at me."
How could I be mad? She's been completely stressed out.
I said, "Mom, you could do crack and I wouldn't get mad. No, take that back. Please don't do crack. I could not handle it. But you could. . .you could get addicted to porn! That might be OK."
Betty gave me a serious look and leaned in like she was telling a secret. "Oh, sweetheart. I read an article. Those porn addicts, they have terrible sex lives. It's very sad."
Note to self: Cross porn off possible addiction list.