Unhooked on Hookahs

Can you find the hookah in this pic?

Can you find the hookah in this pic?

Crackling fire, hot mint tea, a cozy blanket, and nice music... What else would you need on a stormy night in the mountains? Apparently, a hookah. This was my boyfriend's idea last night. It's sort of this thing he likes to do to create ambiance. (That, along with wearing Tibetan prayer beads with his cowboy hat. He's a "spiritual cowboy", after all, as he likes to say.) So, he went about the ritual of preparing a hookah: filling it up with water, stuffing it with flavored tobacco, wrapping it with a piece of tin foil, and poking holes on top. 

"It's Double Apple flavor," he noted, as he carried it over to the sofa. 

Then, he threw a couple of coals into the fireplace and turned them with a pair of tongs until they turned into glowing red cubes.

"Look!" he exclaimed proudly, placing the coals on top of hookah, "I'm getting really good at this!"

It made me wonder if one needed to be a rocket scientist to make a hookah. Is it possible to f*ck it up? Clearly, I am, by no means, a hookah connoisseur. I'm not even a hookah enthusiast. I don't get my jollies from smoking hashish, but, sure, I'll participate for the sake of participating. We did a hookah with a group of houseguests who stayed a few weeks ago and I couldn't help but think that we all looked a little silly sitting around in a circle, passing around the pipe, and burbling on that thing. 

My boyfriend and I took puffs from it throughout the night as we sipped on tea and snuggled. Then, it hit us: a wave of light-headed dizzyness and nausea, causing us to promptly pass out on the sofa, wrapped in each other's arms. A few hours later, after the fire had turned into a pile of ash and a crick developed in our necks, we groggily awoke and climbed upstairs to the bedroom for real sleep. 

By this morning, I still had a hookah hangover. Major headache, much like a regular hangover. "I hate the hookah!" I declared from under the covers. 

I mean, really, what is so great about smoking a hookah? There seems to be a whole lotta pomp and circumstance that goes into preparing a contraption that looks like an elaborate laboratory flask with a hose designed by the Catholic church. Bum-bum bah-dum! All hail the hookah! For it is ready for all to suck on volumes and volumes of cold smoke that tastes like... Well, just imagine soaking cheap car fresheners in a bucket of water!

"Don't exaggerate," he said to me over coffee, "It was really nice."

OK, fine. I won't.