Friday night and my DS is out celebrating the end of GCSEs with a group of his friends. In the week that saw the publication of yet another report detailing the dangerous rise in teenage drinking, I am prepared for the worst when he appears in the kitchen dressed in his going out clothes, a vapour trail of hair product and deodorant behind him.
‘ We’re going to celebrate the end of our exams, can I have some money please? ‘ ‘ Where are you going?’ I am expecting the mumbled name of some tenacious teenager who has somehow persuaded his or her poor parents to let them hold a party where much excessive drinking and unsuitable jolly japes will take place. ‘ Nando’s ‘. ‘Oh ‘. I am thrown for a moment but recover quickly. ‘ But where are you going after Nando’s? ‘ I have him now. ‘ Home. J is staying, his parents are away and I said you wouldn’t mind. So can I have 20 quid please? ‘ I hand the money over happily, it’s a small price to pay for a celebratory night of fine dining with one’s companions, and think about the contrast between this Friday night and the one about 18 months ago when I received a call from a friend of DS informing me that DS ‘ wasn’t very well ‘ due to ‘ er, you know, too much alcohol ‘. I was surprised by the news as he had left the house less than 45 minutes earlier to head to the downs ‘ to hang out ‘, so much damage had been done in a short time. We established he was conscious, sitting propped up against a tree being poorly and had consumed 3 cans of lager and about half a ( small ) bottle of vodka. I fetched him home and mopped his brow while he groaned ‘ Why do I feel so bad, why do I feel so bad? ‘ Like the rest of us DS learnt the hard way that evening that what seems like the best fun ever can rapidly turn into a nightmare of head spinning, sickness and occasionally A & E, something obviously forgotten by hundreds of lashed up Take That fans Old Enough To Know Better this week.
DS returns at the appointed hour, ie. 11 o clock, barely even smelling of booze and looking every inch the model teen. Something I doubt he is going to replicate when he goes to Newquay in a few weeks – oh God.