Alternate Persona: Cigawet Smoker

For my alternate persona, I took on a very passive aggressive approach of being a cigarette smoker. In my nature, I am a polite person that likes to read body language to make sure no one in the room is disturbed in any way. For my project, decided to smoke through 2 cigarette boxes within the lapse of 48 hours. The brand I chose was Parliament as I randomly chose a politically appealing brand due to how I myself am a Political Science Major. My project involved smoking indoors, especially in my own home which serves as a transitioning spot where most of our friends drop by during the day before they head out to classes. The reactions recorded seemed to be much more disturbing in body language that was given off and in the anxieties that were set into motion within the room I was smoking. Most of these recordings involved me going through 2-3 cigarets at a time to extend the provocative window of smoking, creating a longer period of time to get reactions as oppose to making it a chronic smoking project with shorter windows.

May 23rd

10:00-10:30am Woke up to a shower and smoked a cigaret right after I exited the shower. Ended up leaving to class reeking like tobacco. This is very different from my persona as I have a habit of spraying cologne on myself prior to leaving the household.

12:00pm Smoked a Parliament outside our apartment porch. My neighbor Alex noticed and asked if I had started smoking cigarets on the daily basis. I said I was just trying them out for a class assignment. He then dove into the mythical history of how Russian and British soldiers favored Parliament cigarets during WWI warfare due to their extended cigaret filters. Alex ranted off to me on how gunners would bite down on the butts of the cigarets as they locked down on other soldiers during trench warfare. 

2:47pm I have been walking around campus with a cigaret on my ear. As I stand up to take extra handouts up to the TA, my cigarette falls in front of the class. 

5:45 pm Housemate Roberto Casas notices me smoking in the living room and invites me to go smoke with him outside. I invite him to go smoke on campus with me but he admits he can’t smoke past 2 cigarettes at a time. I end remaining in the living room while we discuss how many cigarets we usually smoke per spark.

6:00 pm Another housemate notices us walk out of the room and asks if we have an extra cigarette to join us. He doesn’t smoke on the regular basis, instead he uses the cigarette to Moche a bong rip (half cannabis, half tobacco).

7:00-7:45pm I enter to take the final. Offered some cigarets to several students and a couple of them took them.

8:30pm I arrive home to smoke a cigaret in the living room and another friend asks “wtf you’re smoking cigs now?” Though that was not the case, I was a little disturbed by the way in which the context was brought up. The lingo was definitely passive aggressive on his end. He kept complaining about the smell in the living room. I did a very provocative thing by remaining in the room. I was looking to be asked politely to leave the room but no one in the room approached me in such a way. 
May 24th

12:00-2:00pm I walk into section 7a class as my persona. As we discuss the sequence of several of our peers, I offer cigarettes off to read body language reactions off of people. One of our peers actually liked smoking as he had taken one the previous day during lecture and another during section the next morning. 

9:17pm I was watching a documentary about Liberia over at my friends apartment at Coronado apartments called “The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia”. One of my younger friends named walks in intoxicated and notices me smoking a cigaret. He then pushes for me to take a moche. This was not part of my whole intended project but I adapted the intake of my consumption of tobacco in this case to see what beneficial feelings my friend would get out of this. I ended up taking the moche in front of him. His reaction was filled with joy stating “Youuuu seeeeeee!! That’s how you take a moche!!” as he then followed by taking his own moche. I played along with this approach that he had initiated as he joined us to watch the documentary for a bit. I ended up taking another moche around 45 minutes later and he then stated, “ohhhh yeahhh we converted another one!” This is the sort of reaction I was digging for as I wanted to see if there was any sense of reaping fruit out of getting others to take mochas with him. 

11:59pm As the countdown to the 48 hours being done was coming to an end, I sparked a Parliament inside our living room for one last time and was joined by a housemate of mine. We talked about how my assignment was coming to an end and how I would have to document everything afterwards. He was not fully aware of how I was recording people’s reaction as he thought the project was meant to record my own natural feelings in terms of physical and psychological health.

May 25th

9:30am I decided to smoke a Parliament just to finish the box that I was left with. My lucky cigaret (the one facing upside-down), was a habit that was taught to me by my a fraternity brother before he left off to the bay after graduation 3 years ago. I was again approached another housemate and joined for a little conversation. I told him how I have never really liked smoking indoors due to how it leaves a pestilence and because of the bad looks that are given off by other people. He agreed with me on how he was exactly the same but then it troubled me on how he never told me this when I was being a provocative smoker the past days in the living room.

It was with this one interpretation that I found my Alternate Persona to be a slight mixture of my real persona through the context of being respected as a person. I noticed that the closer my friends they were, the more gullible they were with anything I did regardless if it was a ‘good or bad’ thing. The discovery kind of stunned because it showed me how some of my friends were following the actions I do without questioning them at times. This problem of being a ‘facilitator’ is what I was trying to hit or miss with the whole project itself as I posed a personal hypothesis on how much my presence influences an environment. In conclusion, I believe this to be a very strong personal project that anyone could replicate to figure out the context they hold within their own circle of friends. It thought me many things that could not be documented through language itself but rather read through the analysis of body language and context in an environment.





One thought on “Alternate Persona: Cigawet Smoker

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post. It was I nteresting to see how much your friends will let you get away with/ put up with. It would be cool to see the experiment repeated with a person who is less liked or not part of the friend group.
    Also be careful with moches, I’ve seen friends start and get addicted because of the tobacco.


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