Abbie, I hear what you’re saying about the solitude of smoking, such as when alone and writing or driving for me, but I’ve had a different experience over my life course. No matter where I have worked. No matter where I have gone to school, being congregated into a smokers’ section of the lunchroom (they existed at my college in my day), the smokers’ sections of restaurants, bars, and then after smoking laws, the little spaces we were put into outside, it was always a place to meet somebody. When I moved someplace new, it was always where I knew I would find my first new friends. I’m introverted, so I don’t tend to make the first move. It was always someone there. On a smoke break. Met a boyfriend that way once, too. Not a good one, though.
I quit smoking, and I find it harder to strike up conversations in public places. Of course, I was almost never starting the conversations. So I guess I have less people starting them with me. Maybe that’s good. I guess I miss it though.