It wasn’t the first time the mother had parted with a large amount of cash, just to get a bit of rest bite from her kids. No, it was about the 63rd time. But that’s how it was sometimes. Somedays you just don’t feel like you can step up to the plate and be a top-notch parent. This was one of those days.
The day had started early, although the mother hadn’t. It was almost ten o’clock when she finally dragged herself out of bed and even then, her eyes were barely open. She was all for seizing the day, carpe diem if you please, she just preferred to seize it in the afternoon.
She’d woken up feeling sick as a dog, and as miserable as the pub on a Monday night. That was of course the price you paid for indulging in happy hour, ironically. But it would be too simple to blame her despondency and fatigue on just the booze. Now let me explain.
Why do we drink – explained
Someone very famous, although I can’t actually remember who, once said that Europeans went to a bar to celebrate and because they were happy. The Brits on the other hand went to the pub because they were miserable! Remember the old adage,
“Oh, you hate your job, why didn’t you say. There’s a club for people like you, it’s called the pub and we meet every Friday.
The mother couldn’t honestly say she hated her job, but there were certainly times when she thought her chosen vocation would cause her to have a premature heart attack. Which was a bonus really given that she still didn’t have much of a pension. the mother knew when she awoke that morning with a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach, that it wasn’t just the Kronburg playing havoc with her intestines. It was something more than that.
Now, to Paraphrase Laurel and Hardy,
“Why did you join the Foreign Legion?
“I came, to forget.”
“To forget what?”
“I don’t know I’ve forgotten!”
Well, that’s a bit like how it is, with the pub. It was Friday night that took her hand and lead her to a bar, well, that and a few of her ‘friends’ from work. But it was the events of the day that had pushed her to drink five pints, instead of three, or two, or God forbid just one. I mean yes, theoretically she could have sat in the pub all night drinking mocktails, but these would have done little to lift her spirts after an exhausting and quite frankly soul-destroying day. Yes, it takes a special blend of lager, white wine and shots to take the edge of a day spent with 30, six-year-old children .
The week had been a long, feverous one. The end of term was fast approaching, the weather was boiling and every member of staff was feeling a bit frayed around the edges.
To make matters worse it seemed like the deadline for literally everything was that afternoon.
“All the displays must be taken down today and everything from the math’s and science cupboards must be returned. It’s got to be done by the end of the day.” said someone who’s job clearly did not involve putting math’s and science resources away. She could tell just by the joyful way they said it.
Has it though? What will happen if the displays aren’t all down and the balance scales aren’t boxed up and put away neatly for next September. Will people die? Will the world end? Even worse will I not get paid? No, none of that is going to fucking happen so get off my back.
By Friday afternoon, all the mother wanted to do was get out of the classroom and into the nearest pub. But there was little chance of that happening any time soon. At that moment the classroom was an absolute tip. The children would literally rather do anything than tidy up. There was laughter, dancing, playing, singing, arguing, sword fighting, wrestling, running, handstands you name it, it was happening. It was almost like watching some kind of 18th century circus on opening night, all it needed was a bearded lady and a dancing bear. And it wasn’t even like in needed the whole class to create this chaos, there were at least six kids going to the toilet, allegedly. And she knew for a fact the two children were hiding in the corridor under their coats. And they would have got away with it too if they’d only stop fucking talking. Did you like the Scobby Doo reference there!
Now at this time of the day in a school it is traditional for the children to be sitting calmly on the carpet. The children by now, should have listening to a story, not painting the floor and biting each other. But sitting down or not the kids were gonna hear a story in a minute. The story of the unfortunate children who didn’t get to go home because they hadn’t tidied up
She kept saying the same children’s names over and over again. One boy in particular seemed incapable of tidying up anything, she’d already asked him six fucking times to pick up the pencils.
“Look those pencils on the floor, pick them up and put it in the pencil pot!” He walked towards them, circled them a couple of times, He’d even counted them, but did he pick them up, did he shit! (There were eight pencils on the floor if you’re at all interested).
What was going on here? Was something getting lost in the translation here, what didn’t he understand.
“Do you know what the words tidy up actually mean?
“Are you trying to annoy me?”
“I bet your mum would be really pleased to hear that when your asked to tidy up, you pretend to be deaf.
She been told when she was a newly qualified teacher that sarcasm wasn’t helpful, when working with children as they did not understand it. But for her, being sarcastic was as vital at getting through the day as coffee, Nurofen and a range of shiny, but sadly rather sexist reward stickers. And thank God the children didn’t understand it.
The Mission to get the class tidy on that particular baking hot, Friday afternoon seemed more important than anything else in the world.
“No one is going home until every felt tip and glue stick is put away,”
What bullshit, like she was ever going to get away with that. Talk about an empty threat and not just empty, illegal too!
“Sorry, Mum I know you were going to take Sandra swimming this afternoon school but I’m afraid she’s staying her until she’s picked up that yellow pencil and mopped the floor, and not a moment sooner. “Any half decent human rights lawyer was going to get that thrown straight out of court.
So, to return to my earlier point, the mother did not hate her job, but there were times when she felt like she need a drink or two to unwind, and no one could every judge her for that. At least, she’d like to see them try .
The Morning After
For a long time, the mother just sat on the top of the stairs, listening to the sound of the television and wondering how many episodes of I Carly her daughter had sat through.
Then something quite strange happened, her teenage son appeared at the bottom of the stairs holding a cup of tea. Amazingly he was behaving in a totally altruistic way and the drink was actually for her. I fucking love that boy thought the mother. It was times like these that made having kids worthwhile. OK the drink was tepid at best, and he’d clearly used a shovel to add the sugar, but it was drinkable.
She took two large mouthfuls of the almost transparent liquid, using it to swig down a random painkiller she’d found at the bottom of her bag. After 20 minutes had passed without her throwing up, she realized she might actually be able to leave the house and live to fight another day, provided she stayed off the shots for the rest of her life that was. She was actually feeling quite good now considering. Maybe she wasn’t as much of a lightweight as she’d thought. Yes, or maybe that pill she’d found t the bottom of her bag wasn’t a painkiller after all!
Cautiously she walked downstairs and made herself another cup of tea, a decent one this time, then splashed cold water on her face. She felt ready for the world, well as long as it was in a ten-mile radius of South London
“So, where do you want to go kids?”
The kids weren’t stupid, they knew when they were on to a winner, A guilt ridden, hungover mother who’d just been paid. Those children knew a meal ticket when they saw one. They could have suggested almost anywhere, and she’d have agreed to it, as long as it required minimal effort on her part. Luckily their suggestion was in the realms of possibility.
“Planet Bounce” They both cried in unison.”
Perfect she thought, it’s expensive, it’s noisy, and its bloody miles away, let’s do it.
For anyone who doesn’t know Planet Bounce as the name suggests is a place where people can bounce on trampolines, yeah, it’s not rocket science. But I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s not actually a planet at all. The trampolines are actually housed in a gigantic metal warehouse. As you can imagine the words ‘Trampoline Warehouse’ aren’t nearly as exciting, hence the company decision to go with Planet Bounce.
This out-of-town leisure facility was open to everyone, young and old. Although if you have had children and not persevered with your pelvic floor exercises, I’d steer clear of it.
An afternoon leaping around and drinking excessive amounts of blue slush was just what her kids needed. The entrance fees, train fairs and lunch would set the mother back almost 100 quid, and it would be worth every penny. When her kids got on the trampolines, she would have two hours to herself, two hours of unadulterated peace. Well, apart from obviously the sound of children screaming, crying, shouting,arguing and the incredibly loud pop music playing on a loop. That would be just enough time to nurse herself back to normal, and if it wasn’t? Well, she could always get herself a double expresso slush puppy!
Before entering the trampoline area, itself all patrons of the center had to watch a five-minute safety video. The video explained how to jump safely, what to do, and what not to do. For example, don’t attempt somersaults or back flips yeah right. Don’t bounce if you are pregnant or under the influence of alcohol, or both. Drink lots of water, bouncing is had work. Most important to remember,
“Here at Planet Bounce it’s safety-first bounce second.”
For the mother, the talk was like listening to a Smiths song. This was not because it made her feel melancholy and a bit suicidal, quite the opposite, I mean she was at a trampoline park FFS. But instead, because she knew every single bloody word of it. (Somethings you just never forget). She could have literally done the talk for them, save them playing the precautionary video. No one was allowed to get the trampolines before watching the video. This regardless of how many times you’d been before and seen the video.
But this time as she sat there, slumped over a chair, listening to the advice from a spotty teenage boy something struck a chord. Something resonated with the mother, something which at first, she could not put her finger on. Why was she suddenly so interested in this? How could it possibly have any relevance to her, I mean she wasn’t even bouncing today, quite the opposite. But then it came to her like the Angel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary, I think.
She needed to make a video, a safety video for drinkers to be watched every time they entered the pub. In fact, pubs and clubs across the land should insist customers watch it before entering their establishment. Only then would they be able to order a Hop House 13, A large glass of Pinot Grigio or even, God forbid a Tequila Slammer. Nanny State? Fascist Regime? quite possibly, but just think of all the hangovers people would be saved from. All the late-night greasy kebabs that wouldn’t be eaten. All the pavements that wouldn’t be puked on and the Sunday mornings that would not be waisted. Sod market research, fuck Dragons Den, the drinking public needed this, and they needed it now!
Preliminary notes for Planet Pub Video
Note to self, should video be split into two parts work related drinking and general drinking?
You might be able to drink yourself into oblivion, but you can’t drink your way into a new job, so take it easy.
You have just two days now to call your own. Do you really want to spend one of those days crying into your coffee and necking paracetamol. Remember unions fought hard to give us the two-day weekend, don’t squander it.
If you can, try to avoid meeting in the pub after work, 5.30 isn’t really the evening now is it.
Stick to your limit and drink a soft drink between each alcoholic beverage. And by soft we mean an orange juice or lemonade not Heineken, Carling or a snowball!
Try to avoid mixing your drinks, but if this is unavoidable do not mix the grape and the grain. Also remember cocktails don’t go well with anything, not even other cocktails.
Drunken texts are almost as bad as drunken advances, so make sure you switch off your mobile at 10pm or earlier if you are a bit of a lightweight. Better still give your phone to a friend. Otherwise having a few too many drinks might not be the only thing you regret in the morning.
Remember Thursday night is not Friday night, no matter how close it feels or seems. If you end up phoning in sick on a Friday morning, you might as well text your boss with a photo of you naked arse with the words fuck you, and fuck your job written on it.
Both actions are likely to have the same result, and might even get you a written warning.
If you must skip work because of an almighty hangover, try doing it on a Tuesday as to not raise suspicion. Afterall who goes out on Mondays!
(8). Do not be taken in by peanuts; they are a salty bar snack, not an evening meal.
Everyone knows a bar that is open until two in the morning, so don’t even think about suggesting one. As a general rule by midnight, you should be safely tucked up in bed, ideally your own. You definitely shouldn’t be dancing with an Irish man you met ten minutes ago, in a late-night, unlicensed dive off the Old Kent Road. If you are not sure of the time and are incapable of getting your phone out of your back pocket, then follow these simple rules. If you’re slurring, swaying or your head is spinning, and you want to lay down and die, it’s best to stop drinking and go home. It might well be happy hour in Miami, but you’re not in Miami, go to bed.
If your friend asks you, “Would you like one more drink?” or “Shall we have one for the road?” It is perfectly acceptable to respond with any of the following statements
“No, thank you, I’ve had enough.”
“I’ll just have a coke please.”
“Better not, I have just been sick in my mouth, and I fear one more drink might lead me to vomit in your mouth now, not that I had any intention of…..never mind”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea. My head is banging, I feel massively dehydrated. I haven’t eaten since lunchtime and although you haven’t noticed every time you go to the bar, I fall asleep.
Try to avoid saying any of the following.
“Yeah fuck it, why not .”
“Great, go for it, I’ll get the next round in.”
“Yeah get me a pint; then let’s check out the Stormbird. I’m sure it’s open till 2.”
“I can’t possibly drink another pint…..so get me a double Bushmills please.”
“Of course, I want another drink, It’s Friday night and besides I could be dead tomorrow.”
Carry on like this and you will be.
Snorting Cocaine in the toilets is discouraged and unless you happen to have borrowed Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. People will notice, and by people, I mean the bar staff, bouncers and your work colleagues.
Also, remember no matter how many times you tell yourself that you woun’t feel like shit in the morning, you will feel like shit in the morning. You’re super drunk, not Superman/woman.
Unless you have fallen off the edge of the earth and have no idea how to walk or in which direction, never get a black cab home. The sight of a cab when you are cold, drunk and tired is a vision almost too beautiful for words. You feel as if the Snow Queen herself has appeared from nowhere in her sexy white sledge to take you home to bed. But be warned, although a ride holds the promise of warmth, shelter, and a speedy journey to your home, where ever that is, it comes at a price, a price you can’t afford. If you are feeling really drunk and walking is a problem perhaps you could hail a police car instead. Alternatively, you could sleep on the pub floor.