Making it to Midnight (Unsupervised)

Published on 21 May 2023 at 22:03

AS most of us were settling in to the imagined utopian plain of adolescence, we naturally wanted to open our minds and push our boundaries and limitations.

Could we flick undetected 'V's at Mr Jones – the geography teacher – from behind the textbook which we pretended to understand and may as well have been written in drunken elvish?


17 times in detention and a parental ban on The A-Team re-runs throughout 1996 said no we couldn't. Not unskilled village peasant filth at any rate. Were we now able, seen as we had apparently entered a more intellectual and sophisticated mental state,  to work on our flirting to get the girls to give us a wink, smile, eye flutter or a feisty industrial strength slap across the chops?


Being called a 'scabby, onion-pitted little perv' on occasions going into triple figures, said no, no we couldn't. However it should be noted that those acid-tongued retorts came from a very wide variety of secondary school dames. Which surely illustrates confidence. Or pig-headed stupidity.


School - where egos die a slow death in a pool of rejection and despair


There was a toffy-nosed Angelique, from a 6-bed in a middle class suburb;

Dawn, who snuck her glue-snorting hangers-on into her dad's corner shop on weekends, after dark, to fill their slavering face holes with a cocktail of Double Deckers, Space Invaders, Kola Kubes, a gallon of Tizer and Sherbet Dips for the kick;

Quiet, gentle soul Suzie Halford, with her bonce that looked it was shaped by Eddie Scissorhands during a coke binge;

Even Miss Sanchez, our provocatively draped Spanish supply teacher would regularly fire rejections – although she'd omit 'onion-pitted'.

"drained of the fruity nectar of debauchery,  then filled with the damp air of regret"


Away from bone-headed playground determination, one of the goals for a large number of acne-blasted hormone pressure cookers, was trying to stay up well beyond bedtime and attempt to catch the final credits of the late night erotic thriller that Channel 5 were projecting in their infancy.


Seeing the sun crawling over the horizon, slowly laying its rays over the used park cider bottles, drained of the fruity nectar of debauchery then filled with the damp air of regret.


Hearing the faint clicks in unison of the pensioner's kettles around the estate and chirpy birds spreading the new day news. Well, that was a badge of honour to flaunt in front of your bemused and unimpressed mates. We were proud nonetheless.


This object's contents fuelled our charmless wit


A pointless achievement without doubt. Or is it? Could it be a form of sub-conscious training?


For when we teetered towards the latter stages of our teenage years, staying up beyond the witching hour was a must. To assist ourselves socially. And for opportunities to reinforce our confidence (or to batter it further). How else could we dissolve the scars of schoolyard rebukes?


How could we learn that the way we eradicate those scars is to replace them with fresh ones?


At the end of a night out in the awkward social meat market, our fast flowing veins pumping Carling powered blood, our vodka eyes seeing as straight as Alan Carr and our sweaty skin as thick as Moby Dick's.


The meat market - a pit of pity and disappointment


The rejections now bounce off the social stalwarts like bullets off Robocop. Sure, the scars will carve but rather than a handful of deep ones, they're replaced with many tiny ones that we can't really see. Don't dismiss the Heineken force field.


Perhaps perfecting staying power is just another module in the mastering of life. Or maybe it's youthful dead-headed tearaways trying to be rebellious.


'Adventuring in the Land of Nod before the break of a new day? Ha, I'll show you!'

(I'm aware that teens don't tend to talk like that apart from stuffy, self-important wannabee Tories).


I must admit, it's a trait at even 42, I struggle to banish (not for the reasons stated above as I suspect I'm past all that and by 'suspect', I mean the missus confirms in no uncertain terms that I am).


In fact, it's actually a paradox for me now. If I catch myself fighting my eyes at 11:48pm straining to take in 'The Press Preview' on Sky News, I feel somewhat disappointed in myself - subtly annoyed that I'm irresponsibly making my upcoming working day more challenging.


As a contrast, maximising the day is surely a wholesome way to live, as we seem to be hurtling towards uber laziness as every day slinks from our grasp. But I'm at the age where I berate myself if I arrive in the waking world and the clock says anything beyond 8:30am. How can I be so reckless?


“in bed like a sugar-buzzed rat up a drainpipe”


Ok so there may be nothing going on in the AM other than sinking more arse sweat into my Ninja Turtle PJ bottoms and picking wayward Frosties from my bulging T-Shirt but hey that's still important to some of us.


So now I'm slowly befriending the fact that it's ok to head up the slumber stairs without feeling a twang of guilt for leaving the last Digestive to die a slow death on the coffee table in the cold dead of night before the clock tickles 11.

(Being this wasteful with empty calories is extremely rare as usually everything must go at the supper time sale).


             Don't fight the inevitable                  


But every so often, like Rocky Balboa, I just need to see if I can still do it. And hanging in there between 10 and 12 is like the championship rounds. But I need to prove it to myself. Granted when the clock strikes 12 I'm usually into bed like a sugar-buzzed rat up a drainpipe.


But I can still do it.




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