I'll Breathe In That Smoke While You Drive

I'll Breathe In That Smoke While You Drive


What was that song you were just playing.

It honestly made my heart beat out of my chest. Haven’t felt like that in a while.

Do you know YEBBA.

Never heard of her.

It’s called Smoke. By Luke Levenson, featuring YEBBA. Her real name is Abbey Smith.

Amazing. Thank you so much.

Every so often the smallest creative detail — the scratched button on a winter coat, the faint reflection of light through a store window and in the case, an unassuming eight-word lyric sparks something within me. Putting everything that’s been ceaselessly swirling around in my head for weeks and months at a time into one cohesive storyline.

It’s been a minute. Since I’ve written.

My parents always taught me — “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Expanding upon that philosophy, I always say — “If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything at all.” Doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative.

I admire that restraint. My parents’ commitment to speaking exclusively when their words bring true value to the table.

After all, life is a listening game.

Four months into living in New York and I’ve found a new voice. A new look. I’m sure you’ve found on Instagram that it sharply cuts through how I used to portray myself.

It changes everyday and as my closest friends will tell you — I consistently preach the value of “living the everyday renaissance.” Reimagining yourself each day.


It’s not just the words, but the delivery of the lyric.

Yebba’s voice rings of a deep, almost desperate admiration for someone who is clearly a love — if not the love — of her life.

Blending Winehouse’s raspy timbre with a winding reminiscence of Adele — it’s nothing short of addicting.

Overmore, the feeling of riding along in a pick-up truck — undoubtedly on it’s last leg and going in no particular direction — is all I could ask for in this moment. In this city.

I’ve found that above all else — I’m addicted to the scattered passions of individuals whom I meet by pure circumstance. Many, these days, through Bumble Bizz.

It doesn’t quite concern me what your passions are, as they don't have to be mutual. But I’d kill to learn the origin of your passions, empathize with your point of view, and figure out a way through visuals and writing to amplify that vision. It’s all I can every think about as a creative director.

Over the past few months, I’ve challenged myself to both speed up — and slow down in this pursuit. Especially when it comes to new clients and jobs.

Actually, it’s the reverse. I’ve committed to slowing down — in order to speed up.

I’m a sales guy at heart — but I’ll never call myself a salesman. I love closing deals, convincing people to empathize with an uplifting campaign, exploring a recently launched clothing collection, or joining me for a crafty drink at a hidden gem down the street.

But that honest enthusiasm and zest for life as I’ve realized can unfortunately — and understandably — come across as desperation. I’m an open book and while some try to skip a few chapters in the absence of an adequate summary or forward — I’ve learned to insist on sticking to the singular page at-hand. Mindfulness in the present.

And all of that to say — taking a huge step back to work in solitude has begun attracting the right people into my life and in some cases — back into my life. Rather than pursuing them actively, I’ve learned to let the right people come to me — it’s tough and humbling. Because sometimes they never come around — and that’s okay.

The true recipe to closing a deal is illuminating mutually shared passions and respect for each other. That dazzling digital collaboration will arise when the time is right.


What fascinates me is the context surrounding this phrase — not just the phrase itself.

Think about it.

When have you ever said in a reassuring voice to another — that after being driven all over town, all you’ll offer in return is silently breathing in their second hand smoke.

An unlikely and curious scene, if you ask me.

In a world filled with content creators and entertainers and notifications and dopamine flying left and right as the second hand smoke of our iPhones — with side effects rivaling that of a cigarette — this passive enjoyment of someone’s quiet presence is a foreign concept to say the least.

Not sure where I’m going with this?

Join the club.

All I know is that years ago when I was sporting my zippy black car around Austin, Texas — driving through the rolling hills was my absolute favorite past time. I miss it quite a bit.

Similarly when I workout, I always favor somewhat mindless and repetitive cardio workouts — running, rowing, cycling — which never failed to pull me deeper into my thoughts and meditate. Compartmentalizing concepts I haven’t quite wrapped my head around just yet. Often a client project or a piece of creative just like this.


Let’s take time this week to extend the metaphor of this stunning lyric into our daily lives.


That dingy pick-up truck, stuck in the early 90’s. No Siri or Alexa within 15-20 miles.


Your ride or die. All you have to offer and all you ask for in return is their presence.


The one thing about your accomplice that is dangerously addictive. The raspy voice, the way they look straight through your eyes and into your heart, that home cooked meal filled with unidentified spices you wouldn’t dare to mix in your own kitchen. Because you trust them to experiment while you simply breathe in that smoke.


Let’s not forget how this all comes together. We all know that you must love yourself before you can love another. That one individual — your accomplice — they give you that unconditional love that others won’t understand.


As I said before… life is a listening game. Whether it’s their heart, the road, or the gusts of winds speaking to you today… discipline yourself to ask the right questions and wait patiently — a few minutes or even a few years — for the response you’ve been craving.

Missing a few pieces to the recipe above?

Then it’s time to slow down — in order to speed up. As I’ve done here in New York.

I’m certainly not where I want to be, but I’ve found comfort in good intentions and stillness.

Sometimes the only way to move forward is to stand still.

I’ll leave you with one thought…

Take the time to learn your love languages — and of those of whom you care deeply about. So you can better connect with them and reciprocate appreciation effortlessly.

The lyrics to this song might have already revealed that my love language is quality time spent together.

I value this so much more than gifts, words, or anything else. All you have to to do is show up, put your phone away, and lend me your ear.

In return, I’ll always be there to breathe in that smoke while you drive.

Just a Spoonful of Sugar, Not Artificial Sweetener

Just a Spoonful of Sugar, Not Artificial Sweetener