I made Maxine maxie8 's acquaintance early in my quit. She had graciously commented on a blog that I wrote #Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loathed Me , telling me that not only did we have the same quit date, but that she also lived in San Francisco. We slowly developed a friendship over correspondence, checking in every few days and comparing notes about each of our experiences on our quit. Early on, she proposed meeting at some point, and though it was tempting to meet immediately, it felt more appropriate to wait for a milestone. For me, I didn't want to meet too soon because I didn't want to feel any sense of dependence on another person's success or potential failure. I'd heard of other quit buddy arrangements where one fails, and then the other succumbs out of a sense of collective disappointment. I needed to own this quit, and know that I was standing on my own independently firm foundation. I don't know if Maxine felt the same, but when I proposed meeting at our 90-day milestone, she seemed relieved too that we were waiting a while.
All this time, we lived in close orbit of each other. She lived just a block away from where I practice yoga. She told me of at least two times where she approached complete strangers in the street to ask if their name was Brian. It only took a couple of fails for her to stop doing that. Once, I almost stopped a woman in the street walking her dog if her name was Maxine, but my shyness won out (thankfully it turns out, because I would have been wrong). We stayed in regular contact via email, gradually learning more about each and becoming familiar friends.
Today is actually our 87th day of freedom. Because I have to work on what will be day #90, we agreed that today would be the day to meet, and to reward ourselves, we would treat ourselves to a pedicure. We arranged to meet several blocks away at the barbershop where I was having my beard trim (today was the day to pamper both my male & female aesthetic). After my trim, I stepped outside to wait for Maxine, and after a few minutes, there she was, beaming and coming in for an epic hug. It felt great to finally meet, and sublimely natural. Also, it's a good thing that we both had quit smoking because we were practically breathless from the constant stream of conversation. No way could we have been friends as smokers. We wouldn't have had enough breath.
We made our way to the nail salon called Hand Job, in the heart of our city's beloved Castro district, and spent the next few hours yammering away. I learned that she had read my blog the morning after having her own smoking nightmare. We talked about our journey to finally come to a place that we found the resolve to quit... struggle, achievement, empowerment, how life has opened up, and how barriers are coming down as we circle the wagons around our precious quit.
We spent the entire afternoon solidifying our friendship, and in turn fortifying our quits. One of the last things I said to her is that I felt like I have shed a false friend (cigarettes) in exchange for a real & substantial friend (Maxine). It's a more than fair trade to me, and I'm humbled in gratitude.
PS: I told Showiestodin that I would not be posting a photo of my feet, but I think she'll agree that my toes look too pretty to not share with everyone. Forgive me my friend
PPS: Obviously you can see in the last photo how comfortable Maxine & I are after the brief time together.