Category: Old and Grumpy

Old and Grumpy in my Twenties: Going Home

Old and Grumpy in my Twenties: Going Home

This week I’ll do something a tad different. I’ve been getting my head kicked in by writer’s block all week, so I’m taking a step back. Here’s an old one while I get my act in gear!

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I remember the very first time I identified that I wasn’t having fun and that I just wanted to go home. I’m not talking about being at work and not having fun, I’m talking about an actual social affair that I’d been looking forward to and by all accounts should have been fun, but it just wasn’t.

I wanted to leave. Unfortunately, it was a time in which I couldn’t.

A story, if I could. Two years running in my office, we arranged a trip to a little island on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond (oh God, I’m sorry. I hate myself for that). The idea was solid: get a boat, a truck of drink, an abattoir of BBQ-able meat and sit on a wee island all day getting fat and hammered.

The first year was fine. There was rain when we got there – because Scottish Summer is just the best – but it died down, became warm-ish, and the drink set in. A few people ended up leaping off the pier, everyone cheered, good times all round.

The second year was not fine. First of all, there was that rain again – Scottish Summer, for the win! – but this time it did not calm. A speedboat is fun. A speedboat in the rain is not. The splashes over the side weren’t playful, they were wet. Just wet. I was already wet because of the rain. We were all already wet because of the rain. We were forty wet people approaching a beach with what was rapidly becoming not-enough booze. On the beach was a singular gazebo under which we all crammed. It was crowded. How crowded, you ask? This crowded:

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Someone might look at this photo and think something funny like, ‘man… imagine the utterly fabulous chaos that would ensue if, say, a dozen wasps were thrown in amongst the mix there’. Well, guess what? In spite of the fact that it was positively teaming it down from the heavens – Scottish Summer, because LOLZ – there was a bamboozling amount of wasps terrorising us that day. Not a minute passed without someone leaping out of their chairs, spilling a drink and vomiting mass panic into our tiny, barely-bloody-waterproof gazebo. The dance was funny for a bit, but after a while it got old.

I try to see the best in any situation (read: drink through the pain), so I was making a joke of it all. I’m determined to have a good time in the face of the odds, even when I’m absolutely miserable. I will fight to convince myself to enjoy myself, especially if I’ve spent money to do it. Good memories are forever, misery is temporary.

But listen close, and I’ll tell you the exact moment it flipped on me. Gather round. Let’s get serious.

Throughout the hilarity, our friend Chris stood just outside the gazebo looking a bit edgy. His overpowered Jack Daniels shook in his hand and every time someone leapt out of their chair he didn’t find it amusing.
‘Y’alright mate?’ I asked.
‘Nah, not really,’ he twitched. ‘I’m allergic to wasp stings.’
My mouth went dry. ‘Don’t you have a-a-thing! What do you-‘
‘An epi-pen? Nah. Brought one last year and didn’t need it.’
‘B-but… what happens if you get stung?’ I dreaded the answer, knowing fine well we were a twenty-minute journey on a speedboat from the nearest thing to civilisation, and even then we would be in Luss.
Deadly serious, he looked me square in the eye and said, ‘I’d probably die.’

For the first time in my life, I couldn’t convince myself I was having a good time, and I wanted to go home.

Since then I’ve noticed it more and more. This feeling of just wanting to patch the whole thing and go home. Maybe it’s the whole getting-thirty thing rearing its head again, but I’m becoming a much less sociable person.

What’s weird is I don’t know why I resist it. What’s wrong with going home if you’re having a crappy time?

There’s the FOMO argument, I suppose. That’s Fear Of Missing Out apparently. I don’t want to leave a party because something completely legendary will happen as soon as I leave and I need to be there for it. I want to be part of that story, even if I am just sulking in the corner watching my whisky deplete. I hate FOMO. I hate FOMO more than I hate using the term FOMO. FOMO is the bane of my bank account. The number of clubs I’ve trudged into just to keep drinking for another three hours when I’ve got booze in my flat is ridiculous. If I’d put that money in a savings account, I’d have… well I wouldn’t have done anything responsible with it, but I’d have enjoyed it a bit more.

There’s also the fact that I like to be invited places. Haven’t we all had that pal that turned down so many gatherings that we stopped asking that person? And then they went in a huff about it? I don’t want to be that guy. Nobody wants to be that guy. That guy is pretty dull. I refuse to be dull.

I think my ideal world is one where nobody makes any plans ever… or at least any plans that involve going outside. That’s reasonable, right?

New Year is approaching, and you’ll be surprised to hear I’m not too fussed on it. It’s a party; it’s drinking until six am with my friends. It’s always a perfect time, but I’m a bit meh this year. I think I could be doing with another week between Xmas and New Year? Maybe two? Is there someone I can speak to about moving New Year back? Can I get on the Chinese calendar? Those guys have got it good.

(I’d like to note now that New Year has happened since I first drafted this – I had a bloody excellent time and drowned my guts in drink until about seven am and suffered greatly for it.)

(Oh, and Happy New Year!)

I think in the New Year I’m gonna resolve just to go home more often. I need to think about that horrific, wet, waspy, potentially life-threatening day more often. Sometimes I don’t have the option of going home, I shouldn’t take for granted the times when I can!
Sadly, given my track record with New Years’ Resolutions, I’m probably doomed to bully myself into fun forever. It’s the thought that counts, but life is hard sometimes, you guys.

It’s Gavin