Every now and then I am still tempted to have a cigarette, especially when travelling. But since I don’t actually like cigarettes, I opt for some nicotine gum. It feels like a treat, a little like the decaf coffee I have about once every six months. However, the real pleasure of the gum is giving it up after a few weeks. I have come to look forward to the withdrawal symptoms: the slowness of time, the intense awareness of my body and surroundings, the great joy in simply forgetting the many things I am supposed to do, the tendency to become engrossed in whatever I am doing, the slight agitation, lack of concentration and so on. It feels like a real holiday.

In light of this experience, I suspect heaven may well be:

1. a state of perpetual withdrawal from an addiction.

Add to this two other pleasures:

2. the pleasure of an empty stomach after missing a meal or two.

3. humid nights in which you sweat profusely and sleep for nine hours or more.

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