A Teenage Manifesto

It’s 1994, you’re 16, and all you want in life is a brand new tattoo of Sylvester the Cat holding a red rose. It holds the answer to all life’s problems, and will sum up everything you are as a person to anyone who sees it. You will be a badass. A person to be reckoned with, someone who is far too cool to be concerned with the likes of bullies, grades and stupid homogenous girls in a rural secondary school who all look the same. Not you though. Oh, no. You’re an individual. You loudly proclaim that you prefer ‘Bleach’ by Nirvana, as opposed to their more obvious ‘commercial’ release ‘Nevermind’ like the rest of Transition Year.

So you gather up your courage, turn down your Soundgarden CD and casually stroll up to the sitting room to put your case forward for getting this life-altering skin picture to a woman who can’t understand why you would willingly put needles on your skin for fun, and thinks tattoos are for soldiers and prisoners. And so far, you are neither. She says no. You’re devastated. This is an affront to your civil rights. You are being oppressed. You can no longer express who you are as a person. How is Alan in Sixth Year going to know you’re cool and not like all the ‘normal’ girls if you don’t have a Sylvester the Cat tattoo?? Life is as good as over.

So you storm off down to your room in a rage, full of righteous indignation and an ever-expanding martyr complex. Then you decide to do what many afflicted artistic souls have done before in the face of adversity and suffocation on behalf of a corrupt authority. Something which will shake the system to its very core, and lead to your mother throwing herself on your mercy and begging for forgiveness and even paying for your tattoo which will change your life for the better.

You write a poem. In your diary. That’ll show ’em. An unpublished tour de force that that nobody will ever see.

Until now. God bless the internet.

I regret nothing.

Viva La Revolution!

The things I learn so you don’t have to…

If The Universe has decreed that you’re due a fall, it will never be in private and out of sight. It will always be in public, and always in front of people you would rather glue your eyelids shut than lay eyes on ever again.

There’s a lot of things that can make you look sexy. Eating a donut while driving is not one of them.

If you’re in a queue and you’re eye level with the elbow of the person in front, they don’t know you’re there and they WILL step back onto your toes. It’ll hurt like a bitch but the fright they get after it happens will totally be worth it.

If you make jokes about stealing your sister’s awesome dress after borrowing it and you find it in your suitcase after you come home, she will not believe it was an accident. (sorry Amy!)

If you don’t drink, you are forever assumed to be thought of as Taxi Friend. However you can play your cards right by accepting payment in Red Bull form.

Wearing a pink wig will NOT make you look like Natalie Portman in ‘Closer’. Not even slightly.

Just because you’re alone in your car doesn’t mean you’re invisible. Singing your heart out to ‘Dick In A Box‘ while driving past a school at break-time will not help your teaching career.

For every bedroom spider you destroy with immense satisfaction, be warned. It has ten brothers of varying sizes, and they’re going to burrow their way into your ear canal tonight.

When you use a GHD, you’re pretty much calling God out and openly challenging him to a duel between your newly-straightened hair and his weapon of choice. Which will invariably be Humidity.  Or a gale force wind. Or both. He’s mad for mixing shit up.

For every person you look at on your Facebook news feed and think: “You’re full of shit”, there’s at least four other people thinking the exact same thing about you. Make a note of that, then shrug it off and keep going. I know I do.

 

When Kildimo became South Central…

Sunday Mass started to look a bit different in the village...

The peaceful rural idyll has been shattered. Children are being dragged back indoors by frantic mothers. Urban life has descended upon Kildimo. The reason?

A car alarm is going off.

This is MOST irregular. Next there’ll be gunshots, police sirens and crack whores peddling their wares outside the local GAA pitch. Ross Kemp will be filming a hard-hitting documentary from the corner of Slattery’s pub about the deadly rivalry between the U14 and U16 hurling teams. Rappers and gritty hip-hop artists will film music videos here just to prove how hard they are. HBO will commission an extra season of The Wire to be filmed almost entirely outside Kildimo Post Office and the local garage. Brothers and sons will be divided in bitter gang wars while constantly living in fear that their tractor might get ‘jacked for its hubcaps, while bloodied bodies litter the streets, victims cut down in the prime of life simply for wearing the wrong colour overalls in the wrong side of the village. Nothing but crime, catastrophe and carnage awaits us now.

Still, it’ll be nice to have a bit of life in the place…

Life as a Home-Groaner..

To be fair, at least I ACTUALLY left home first.

This is a brief look into the life of an adult child who, for one reason or another, has decided (and been allowed) to return to the homestead from which they came. There’s a lot of us out there, in our twenties and thirties who, due to money reasons (or in my case, that plus a complete U-Turn in career choice), have ended up living back at home with our parents.

Don’t let their eye-rolling fool you…they secretly LOVE it. Why pass up another opportunity to lay down some Home Rule? A second chance to say those immortal words ‘Not while you’re living under MY house, young lady..’ Every day that passes is another day to ask ‘are you going to wear a jacket with that?’ with a sly knowing smirk as they watch that little vein in your temple throb to a crescendo as you scream “I’m a grown-up!!”. The fact that you’re having a tantrum about being said grown-up only serves to bring their point home. Oh they’re skilled creatures these parents..

Living at home as a grown-up puts you in a strange position. You’re eternally grateful for the down-time while you figure out your next move in the big bad world, but you’re also aware that you have stepped into a sort of time warp. Or a loophole in the universe. For in the years between when you first left home and forged your way into the land of the grown-ups and the time you return battered and bruised and needing a time-out, somehow you survived all by yourself.. Your clothes were cleaned on a semi-regular basis, you got yourself up, dressed and out the door to work or college all by yourself more or less on time, if you drove you hardly ever mowed anyone down on the road or went through a windshield due to non-wearing of seatbelt…and most of all, you didn’t starve. Either you developed cookery skills or managed to have all the local takeaways on speed dial. Either way, you did okay. And then you moved back home.

By moving back home you are unaware that you signed a contract with Father Time. This contract wiped clean any of those skills you developed outside of the home – in the eyes of your parents. So now you are nothing more than a big old twenty or thirty-something menace in their kitchen who is going to burn the house down if left unchecked. I could write an entire blog on the choreography my mother and I engage in while we both attempt to cook dinner. How I was ever left alone near electrical appliances without my mammy coaching me while I lived in Cork for 6 years I’ll never know.

“It’s starting to boil now.”

“Yup, I know. I can see bubbles..God bless Junior Cert science.”

“No need to be smart..”

“Yes there is, I’m making ‘BOIL in the Bag’ rice. It’s in the name!! If it was ‘Lukewarm in the Bag’ rice I may need you to intervene cos obviously the power’s gone straight to my head”

“I’m only trying to help..*sniff*..”

Ah, that sniff…it’s the universal symbol for mothers the world over. It can mean many things. In this case, it meant “I had nothing else to say on what you were doing but I walked all the way out here and I hate wasted journeys. I’m going to act hurt now because my attempt at mothering you ended in disaster.”

My favourite has to be the wake-up call. Not the symbolic ‘moment of clarity’ one, the actual rising from one’s slumber.

*knock knock*

“I just wanted to tell you that it’s ten to two.”

(groggily looks at her alarm clock, then her phone on the bed) “Yup, I know, thanks.”

“Okay so, I wasn’t sure if you did.”

Now I should point out it’s a Sunday. And I’m 31. But here’s where the mother’s skill comes in. Rather than burst in with a lecture about how I’m wasting the day and I’m sleeping a lot lately blah blah, she comes back 20 minutes later with this.

*knock knock*

“Do you want a cup of tea?”

“Okay, okay, I get it, I’m getting up…”

“No, it doesn’t matter, sure I’m heading away in a few minutes anyway.”

“?????”

It was pretty sweet to be lured out of bed with a cup of tea, I’ll admit. But why if she was going away did she want me up?? I’d happily have slept all day! And that never happens. Because as much as I love my mammy, she’s a bit of an insomniac who wakes at all hours..and not quietly. I call her the walking drum kit. Well worth the slap I get for it!

So I get up, and there’s my lovely tea..

“Did you put sugar in for me as well? You didn’t have to do that..”

“Course I did, my little sugar plum..”(I added that bit :P)

“How many did you put in?”

“2 teaspoons”

“Oh, sorry I only take one and a half” (have done for a few years)

“But this is the way you always liked it!” (see what I mean about the loophole in time??)

For all the adjustments made on both sides when a grown-up child comes back home to the nest they once flew out of, you can’t beat putting the key in the door of a place you can always feel like yourself in, with someone there who knows instinctively when to make you a cup of tea just by looking at your face as you walk in the door. You drink it gratefully, and even though there’s too much sugar in it, it still tastes rapid cos it’s made with love. And I am eternally grateful to be allowed back home while I finish the mammoth task of forging a career for myself, and we’re both glad of the company because to be honest we’re so flippin’ odd I don’t think anyone else would understand.

*braces herself for a clip around the head*

It’s good to be home.