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Thursday, 4 December 2003


Ethernautrix got me thinking about people who brag about how much trouble they got into as a kid. I only got into trouble three times in my life.
So here's one of mine. Aged sixteen, I went to a local sixth form college and simultaneously enrolled in night classes at a community college so I could study art history. I was one of those insufferably 'meek' kids who is in reality anything but, having a deeply held conviction that I was the most intelligent member of any class. A quiet, reserved kid, really, I hadn't ever really been out without either my parents or a friend's parents being present. I'd been dressing like a bad girl for a few years, but the truth was that it was easier to feign introspection that way - I'd never spoken to a boy (beyond Aaron Chipps once in the third year), and wouldn't have known what to say if I did.
A lunchtime conversation at college had run on to who had the most repressive family. Mine had locked me out for getting home -accompanied by responsible adults - from a friend's place at five minutes to nine. There were mass 'ooohs', and I won instantly.
I think I'd been feeling guilty about this, so come the end of year college pool party, I decided to do my best to be the model daughter. Given that my closest friends were dating smackheads or on their second trial release from the loony bin, given that another had painted in navy non drip gloss two foot high lettering "FUCK OFF MUM" across their bedroom wall, I felt peculiarly angelic, and slightly aggravated that my family didn't know a well-behaved kid when they saw one, when I did more than my filial duty and asked what time they would like me home.
Never never never ask what someone wants. Always always always ask for the ultimate you think you can get.
In mock high Dickensian manner, my mum and dad stroked imaginary beards at the family dinner table and cogitated solemnly. It was deemed seemly that I return home by ten of the clock. All were agreed that this was fair. Harumphs of satisfaction all around.
Except for the seething, pulsating furnace of boiling injustice inside of me.
Ten o'clock? I was apoplectic. Unable to speak. (Forget momentarily that I hadn't for one second intended to go to the actual pool party, but to run off clubbing with aforementioned wayward chums. Pool party? Get serious. I thought myself way too cool for school.) Nobody I knew would even get to the clubs before half eleven.
I simmered blackly, emanating noxious waves of discontent and adolescent fury.
'They fuck you up your mum and dad', I gnashed, in a rather poetical aside to the adolescent-cam that I presumed followed me everywhere.
I dressed (in black, natch), left, went to the pub under a storm cloud of rage. Railed against the inequity of it all. Had a few. More than a few.
Moved onto the club, obstinately. And wordlessly buggered off on my own.

I've pretty generally lived my life as if the rest of the world doesn't exist - or if they do, I don't give all that much of a fuck, anyway. As Ethernautrix (again) puts it, as though you're living in a novel and you want to see what would happen if the author . . . ?
So it was after a night of drunken al fresco debauchery that I awoke in the bed of a stranger, hung out for the rest of the day, and returned chez famille at about four in the afternoon the next Sunday.
Being the protagonist and all, I was mildly surprised that a chain of events had taken place in my absence.
The squad car, for instance. The police interviews that followed. Where had I been -- had I been taken against my will -- what are the details of the people you stayed with -- were you abused. Next, I had to telephone all the friends who'd been interviewed by the rozzers while they'd been tracing my final moments. Before I was abducted, killed, sliced into pieces and hidden down an old pipe on a wasteground, I mean.
Then the long long lecture about responsibility, consideration, this house is not a hotel, that presumably everyone gets once before they survive their teens. I was a little amiss as to how daytime soap the whole shebang was going to get. I'd genuinely not even wondered where everyone might think I'd gone. For the first time in my sixteen years I decided not to tell a lie then hide in the toilet till I'd got away with it. I argued back, and unleashed the truculent manipulative demon within.
Finally, after eight hours of tears, snot, yelling, stamping, wrangling, and grilling, I lifted a sulky callow face and asked what time they wanted me home tomorrow night.
Bless 'em. They let me out, an all. As much as I wanted. No match.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:49 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 December 2003 8:38 PM GMT
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Thursday, 4 December 2003 - 10:31 PM GMT

Name: Kat
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Damn, you little hellion, you! Just teasing. At least you made it worth getting in trouble for. Except the cops being called. Parents upset enough to call the police is not a good thing.

I pulled plenty of stunts when I was growing up and when I got caught I got grounded for weeks or months at a time, depending on how bad the infraction was. Oh well. Live and learn.

Thursday, 4 December 2003 - 10:45 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

I'm pretty sure I was an intolerable self-absorbed prig as a teenager. Although remembering that for this post and reading your recent 'thanks' post to your kids did make me giggle about how utterly self-absorbed all teens are.

Sheesh, you'd think one would grow out of it, huh?

Thursday, 4 December 2003 - 11:11 PM GMT

Name: tess
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Grounding kids is not a punishment for them, its a punishment for the parents. I have learned.

Friday, 5 December 2003 - 10:41 AM GMT

Name: Vic
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Go to your room!

I bypassed the being nice and meek bit and went straight to the being a twisty sh|te phase for eighteen years.

Friday, 5 December 2003 - 11:12 AM GMT

Name: ThePimpress
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Ever the bloody apple polisher that i am i have usually observed my so-called "curfew". although to be honest here in the states there's not all that much to do when you're under 18. it's bollocks really until your 21 and can hit the pubs (bars) and the really good clubs. Which is why i am looking forward to going back to London this summer. heh.

Friday, 5 December 2003 - 2:40 PM GMT

Name: Kat
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Ah, you do grow out of it eventually. I think the teen years were invented so that parents and teens would grow to (almost) despise each other thus making the birds fly the nest, you know.

If you want to hear how a Texan talks I recorded an audio post. It's OK if you laugh - just don't POINT and laugh.

Friday, 5 December 2003 - 4:00 PM GMT

Name: Pan
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Ha - these things are hard to tell. I thought I was a really pretty well behaved and charming teenager (again compared to some of my contemporaries) but in a recentish conversation with my Mother she described my behaviour during the same period as being 'fairly unbearable' and that I was 'miserable to share a house with'.

It's still a pleasure 15 years after leaving home to be able to stay out as long and as often as you like / can afford. That in fact is one of the serious downsides to being in a couple : having to ring a disgruntled other half at 2am to explain why it is critical you go to X's house right now and hoover down some shrooms and listen to the new Kills album, and "yes I know I said I'd be home by midnight", and "yes I know you have work tomorrow" and "yes I do know what time it is actually".

Being single and grown-up(ish) sure is swe-ee-ee-eet.

Friday, 5 December 2003 - 6:26 PM GMT

Name: jatb

I was an absolutely charming teenager, I believe.

Friday, 5 December 2003 - 8:24 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

You can buy my silence you know.

Friday, 5 December 2003 - 9:07 PM GMT

Name: jatb
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And the cheque is already in the post.

Saturday, 6 December 2003 - 1:04 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Ooooh, American accents make me go all funny and olde worlde Sherlock Holmesish. I swear I don't mean to put it on, I can't help talking like a Merchant Ivory actor when I hear an American. The first time I ever telephoned a store in NYC was the first moment in my life I ever said the phrase "excuse me, my good man..."

Saturday, 6 December 2003 - 1:05 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Yeah 18 years is about how long it lasts. :o)

Saturday, 6 December 2003 - 1:07 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Lol at 'apple polisher'. Hey are you not american, Pimpress? You say 'bloody' and 'bollocks' and that must surely count as unamerican activities.
And the 21 part is just mean and sucky. Why do they let people drive at age six or whatever, if they're going to keep all the sex and drugs for themselves?

Saturday, 6 December 2003 - 1:09 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Pan said: Being single and grown-up(ish) sure is swe-ee-ee-eet.

You're right about not being able to tell if you were a pain in the bum as a teen or not. Took me 18 years to work out how horrible a child I was. I'm sure the adolescence was falsely extended over those years. Something about being a screaming homosexual and never marrying or having children doesn't lend itself to emotional maturity.

Saturday, 6 December 2003 - 1:10 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Hah ... at least I don't have photographic evidence - that camera ban showed great foresight.

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