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Pipe Dream, Part 1

When I was young, my grandfather smoked a pipe. While cigarettes smell like sweaty gym socks that have been lit on fire, pipe smoke is a lovely wisp. It is the aroma of pungent woods and smoky spices and summer and the old man who called me Sunshine because I smiled so much when I was small.

Lena Stark | Pipe Dream

My Grandpa and my cousin in 1973.

Now I have five brothers-in-law plus my own brother, and out of the six of them, five are pipe men. This charms me more than I care to admit, and for several years I tried to con, cajole, or beguile my husband into smoking a pipe too. “Come on, your brothers all do it. It smells so nice!” Alas, he insisted on being his own man and would not be moved to blithely puff on potential carcinogens even on the very occasional basis I was suggesting. So rude![pullquote position=”right”]My husband has a rather curious code that governs what he will and will not flip out about.[/pullquote]

Last fall I found a picture of a woman I know on Facebook, that purveyor of jealousy and poor habits. She held a book in her hand and a pipe in her mouth, and suddenly I felt very silly. I could smoke a pipe myself! Obviously, I could smoke a pipe since I have this perfectly usable mouth apparatus attached to my very own face. This was worth pondering.

My husband has a rather curious code that governs what he will and will not flip out about. After nineteen years of marriage, I still have not quite figured out the qualifying factors for flippage. This is the list to date:

 

I haven’t actually gotten to the crazy hair colors yet because by the time I actually wanted to put purple streaks in my hair, I had already hennaed it red, and henna + any other hair dye = not good. Really, his list is pretty short. He’s not usually a demanding or pushy fella, but I’d prefer not to have him look at me and think “Ewwww” if possible, so I try to avoid the very few things on the flip list. A pipe was an entirely new question though, which had previously had no call for list assignment. Which way would that go?

In January we went to Los Angeles and spent the better part of a day driving around the city with his brother (the only non-pipe one). I looked out the passenger window and casually floated the idea.[pullquote position=”right”]”You don’t see a lot of women smoking a pipe.”[/pullquote]

“I think I’m gonna buy a pipe,” I said. [tweetthis]”I think I’m gonna buy a pipe,” I said.[/tweetthis] The bumps on the pavement seemed especially loud. I was sure the locals meandering down the sidewalk were staring at me.

“Like a smoking pipe?” said Mike the Brother.

“Yeah.”

“Oh! You should talk to Steve [pipe brother]; he’ll get you set up,” said my guy.

“Uh huh. Or Jon [another pipe one]. They’ll get you all taken care of,” said Mike.

Huh. That went better than expected. They both passed.

“You don’t see a lot of women smoking a pipe,” reflected my guy after a minute or two.

“Yeah. I don’t care about that,” I said. “Do you?”

“Me? No, I don’t care. If you want to smoke a pipe, then smoke a pipe.”

Guess I can update the list to this now:

After we returned home, I grabbed my best friend and we went to buy a pipe. You’ll find that story in Part 2.

 

~Lena