Hello there and welcome to another edition of Musings of a Nobody, the blog in which a nobody, that's me, muses on things; things that have happened to me in my life, for the most part.
It's been a little while since this blog updated actually and that's entirely down to me and my horrible mood swings that really aren't conducive to writing calmly about unpleasant memories. Hint: I tend to throw things. I'm hoping (and I'm aware that I've said this before without following through) that this will be the first of many and I can get back to a semi-regular schedule on here.
So, you remember Wayne and Lisa right? Sure you do, Wayne and Lisa. Yeah, them. Well, they had tents. Nothing unusual in that you might think. Lots of kids have tents. Some might say that sleeping outside sans parents for the very first time is something of a rite of passage. Not me, obviously, I likes me the creature comforts, but some might. Anyway, Wayne and Lisa had tents and come the summer months these tents would be erected in their back garden, where they would become the focal point of all the activity of the local kids. Boys in Wayne's tent, girls in Lisa's. (They were massive tents by the way, in case you were wondering. No uncomfortable squeezing necessary thank you very much. Never confused.)
Now, one fine summer morn we boys were sat in Wayne's tent, playing snap with a pack of those cards all our Dads/Dickhead Pseudo Stepdads seemed to acquire from nowhere (you know the ones, you know you do) and planning how we were going to invade the Girls Tent and mess up whatever they were doing. It was a favourite pastime of ours to plan these little assaults, although we rarely if ever went through with them; I don't think people do, really, outside of 1980's screwball coming-of-age comedies.
This time was no exception, and after about an hour we drifted over to see what they were up to and ended up joining in a game of Snakes & Ladders. Oh, the hedonism! Wayne went in and asked his Mam if we could all have some pop, which she supplied, and we settled in for the day, it being very hot out and the tent being nice shade. A connect four set was produced and later a cluedo board and we all had, as the yank youth might put it, hella fun. Until the fun ended.
Yes, it was all looking a bit charming and Enid Blytony there wasn't it? Can't have that on this here fountain of misery. No Sirree!
After a few hours, the tent was ripped open and Wayne and Lisa's Mam was standing there. I can't speak for anyone else in the tent at the time but my first thought, in the few scant moments before shit met fan, were that she had come to ask if we wanted more pop. Or possibly biscuits. Biscuits would be nice, I was thinking.
I didn't get any biscuits.
"Get out, now!" came the shrill scream. "All of you, get out of there."
This was interesting, I thought. Well used to my own mothers hysterical mood swings and violent temper I had not, up to this point, experienced it with this particular family. Now that the ice was broken, so to speak, I would witness many more such outbursts, but at this point, new experience.
"Get out and get in the house. You lot go home, your Mams waiting for you. Go on, move it." This last to me and mine, of course, and we wandered, blinking, into the blazing sun, confusion etched into our cute little puppy-fat-chubby faces. Ever the voice of reason, or 'cocky little bastard' as I've also heard it referred to, I tried to calm her down and get to the bottom of her hysterics. This did not go down well. Much swearing ensued, of so vile a nature I'll not repeat it on here because frankly I can't be bothered with the hassle of having one of those 'adult content' blocks on this thing; I get few enough views as it is.
Wayne and Lisa trudged into the house, looking bemused right up to the moment they got the smack from their Dad at the door; then they just looked in pain. For our part, myself and my sis and bro headed off up the street to ours, completely in the dark about what exactly we were supposed to have done wrong but wary, after what we'd seen happen to the others, about what kind of reception awaited us at home. We didn't hurry. Sure enough, as promised, our loving Mam was waiting at the door to greet us.
My brother walked in first. *Smack* across the back of the head. "Get upstairs, right now!"
Then my sister. *Smack* "Get upstairs..."
Then it was my turn. *Smack* across the back of the head and then "Get in the f*ck*ng living room, right now!". Not upstairs with the others then? This boded in the realms of the not well. Very much so in fact. In I trudged.
"What the bloody hell do you think you're playing at?" came the question. Followed by an open palmed slap to the face that, I'm not ashamed to say, hurt like pissing buggery. Now, I wasn't standing for that! I was used to being smacked around but at least I usually knew why it was happening, even if the reasons were often a little, shall we say, arbitrary; this seemed to be coming from out of nowhere. Unless some new law I wasn't aware of had come into effect banning board games, I was stumped.
"You're only kids. You never do that kind of thing. Never."
I was still none the wiser. I won't give you the whole conversation, or an accurate count of how many blows were struck, because the former would bore you and the latter might shock you, but suffice to say it went on for a very long time and it hurt. A lot. In the end though, I got to the bottom of what we had 'done wrong'.
It seems that we had been showing each other our privates and daring each other to touch them. This came as news to me, but apparently Wayne's mother had come out to offer us some pop and biscuits - so close - and had heard us doing it. At which point she had rushed in and stopped it. Except no, she'd come up to my house, told my Mam and then gone back to her own house and stopped it. Rather undermines the level of righteous outrage she was affecting right? I didn't think of that at the time though, which was probably just as well because I really didn't need another smack in the teeth. I denied everything, because it was a crock of bullshit, but the old 'why would she make something like that up?' was my Mums answer. Bloody good question, if you ask me.
I was grounded for a week (no big deal, I read a bunch of books, it flew by) and banned from hanging around with Wayne and Lisa when I was let back out. As if that was going to stick. It all blew over in a couple of weeks and by the last fortnight of the summer hols we were back to business as usual. Except the tents never went back up.
So, why did they make that up? I assumed at the time that they must have gotten the wrong end of the stick with something they'd heard but really, what kind of boardgame chatter can even roughly equate to "touch my tiddler, I dare you"? That and the fact that, as I say, she wandered up to warn my Mother before she confronted us, which I doubt she'd have done were she properly upset, makes me think on looking back at it, that she absolutely must have made it up.
Was she as doolally-tap as my Mam was? Or did she just want an excuse to stop all the local kids from hanging around in her garden? Although to fair, if that's your aim and the first thing you come up with is accusing them of sexual shenanigans, then that doesn't really rule out the mad as a box of.. argument either. I guess I'll never know the truth and it's just one more childhood experience I'll have to file away in the old 'parents are nutjobs'drawer.