"Do you know how to blow smoke rings?"

Chris's eyebrows shot up in surprise at my question from out of the blue. She had just finished teaching me how to smoke.

"Yeah. I do."

She grinned and pulled out her hard pack of Marlboro cigarettes. She carefully slid the cellophane outer wrap down about half way off the box, creating a sort of clear chamber. Confusion must have been written all over my face.

She took the lit cig from her lips and carefully tapped and scraped off the ash from the burning end, exposing the red-hot cinder. Using a gentle touch, Chris melted a small hole in the center of the cellophane box.

Returning the butt to her mouth, she took a long drag...drawing smoke into her lungs. She paused dramatically and then lifted the box of smokes. She pursed her lips and placed them gently over the hole she had made and blew smoke into the little cellophane chamber.

She lowered the box quickly, returned the cig to her lips, and began gently tapping the untouched side of the cellophane.

I watched in awe and wonder as small, perfectly formed smoke rings wafted slowly upward from the hole she had made.


It's funny the memories that creep into your head when you wake in the pre-dawn hours of the morning and can't fall back to sleep. I also had a vivid recollection from when I was 5. We lived in Las Cruses, New Mexico. It was hot and dry in the desert, so my parents purchased a large, free-standing humidifier to pump some moisture back into the air in our little 3 bedroom ranch home.

The humidifier was a huge brown plastic "box". The brown plastic was supposed to look like wood and impressed into the front of the unit were faux "doors" to make it look like a piece of fine furniture.

Uh. Yeah. Fine Sears craftsmanship.

Anywho...the top of this box was actually a vented, hinged lid. Inside was a large water wheel covered in a thin layer of brown foamy sponge. There was a place off to the side where you were supposed to pour water, filling the bottom of the cabinet. The water wheel would turn, getting the sponge covered wheel wet and inside the wheel was a fan. The fan would blow air through the wet sponge wheel and out the top of the vented lid.

Ta da! Moist air. More importantly...COOL moist air. I used to stand in front of that thing on hot days and lay my face on the vented lid. The cool moist air blowing out of those vents was sheer heaven.

Smoke rings and humidifiers... I am so weird.

ps: NO, I don't smoke. I went through a "this makes me look cool" phase until I was 20 or so and then I stopped for life.


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