Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Driving me crazy.

The Rock Star, aka our 17 year old son, loped into my bedroom the other night. Now when I was 17 I’d been in bed for hours by midnight. These days one’s children think they can have an audience with you at any given time of day, or preferably, night.
“So, ma”, he said, sitting on my bed and switching on my bedside light. I squinted and groaned and pulled the duvet over my head.
“Why aren’t you asleep?” came my muffled response. He pulled the duvet down enough so that my face was visible.
“Hell ma, what’s happened to your skin?” I flew my hand up to my cheek and realised that, due to the cold weather, I’d taken the advice of some skincare expert and plastered on ultra thick night cream, consequently, having been asleep for an hour and then having hid my face in the bed linen, a tissue and much lint type stuff had adhered itself to the cream. I must have been quite a sight to behold. Luckily Hubby was out for the count bedside me.
“It’ll wash off”, I said, “So why aren’t you asleep? You’re not even undressed”.
“Ma, it’s only twelve”.
“Only twelve? You’ve got school tomorrow, not to mention your first driving lesson. You need to get a good night’s sleep”.
“Okay, okay, I’m a growing lad and all that”. He smirked. They think they know it all.
“Well actually you are. What the hell are you doing in there anyway?”
“Loads of my friends are on Facebook at the moment. I was chatting”.
“There is no way that what you were doing in there is any approximation of chatting. You were in fact typing”, I said, “Moreover, chatting elicits facial expression, mutual listening, a nod of the head that sort of thing. A real smile cannot be replaced by a ‘smiley’ or a nudge or a poke or whatever it is you people do to each other these days.
“These days?”, he guffawed, “Mum you have more Facebook friends than I do”. He had a point.
“I’m too tired for all this midnight badinage, what do you want?”
“You know we’ve got this gig on Friday?” I knew. What about it?
“Well I need an amp”. This meant nothing to me; the only amps I’d ever had any dealings with were of the 13 variety when the fridge fused.
“As in amplifier ma”.
“But grand-dad bought you a fab one for Christmas last year. Why can’t you use that one?”
“It’s not big enough for a pub situation Alice”. That was clever, Hubby looked dead to the world and yet here he was able to join a conversation whilst still officially asleep. Like some somnambulant ventriloquist.
“See?”, said my son, “I’m going to be totally crap if they can’t hear my bass”.
“Less of the crap love there’s a good boy. Anyway, you knew this at dinner, why didn’t you mention it then, why must we talk bands and gigs and amplifiers in the middle of the night?”
“She’s got a point son” added Hubby helpfully, “C’mon mate we’ll discuss this tomorrow. I’ve got a big, honcho VIP coming to work at o’crack sparrow. I need my beauty sleep” then crushing me in the process and squashing the living breath out of me, Hubby leaned over and extinguished the light. He then kissed our son, gave me a quick peck, mumbled something along the lines of ‘you might want to address whatever it is on your face’ and within seconds was snoring.
“Will you sort it out for me then ma?” whispered my son, “Only I’ve got a busy day tomorrow what with the driving and all”.
He gave me a hug and went back to his room, to sleep presumably. I snuggled back down into my bedding and waited for the waves of unconsciousness to envelop me. I waited, then turned, then tossed, then rearranged a pillow, then tutted at Hubby and nudged him, then lay flat on my back eyes wide open and stared in the darkness at the ceiling.
How on earth could my baby boy be learning to drive? How was that possible? How could I let him do it? Then, as is always possible but luckily not very frequent, the deep dark night of the soul grasped me and I lay there fretting, terrified of the ramifications of my gorgeous boy out there on the killer roads of Britain.
What if he got in the car with one of his friends who’d been drinking? What if he drove and drank? What if he was silly and drove too fast? What if he fell asleep at the wheel after one of his ‘gigs’? There had been mention of going to see a band in Bristol. Bristol! That’s up the motorway. The deep dark night of the soul insisted, like the ghost of Christmas Future that I watch him and his friends laughing together in the car, singing along to the music, oblivious to the truck bearing down on them....
I sat bolt upright in bed. My skin was clammy and my heart was beating like the clappers. I got up and pulled my dressing gown around me then went into the Rock Star’s room.
He had one leg in a pant and one out; earphones were glued to his lug holes. I flung my arms around him. He jumped out of his skin.
“Bloody hell Ma”. I squeezed him tight.
“I love you so much. Please be careful tomorrow won’t you? Don’t go fast. Don’t ever drink and drive. Don’t be distracted, don’t...”.
“Ma, it’s my first lesson. I’ll probably just turn on the ignition. Besides don’t you think that 17 years of being parented by you wouldn’t have rubbed off? Are you not familiar with the works of Philip Larkin? I consider every driver out there to be a potential murderer and recklessness akin to suicide.”
Excellent. I’ve done a good job.


Roads said...

But did you find him an amp?

As someone who spent last Sunday afternoon urgently locating and buying a new amp cable, I can really relate to the timing of such requests.

What with social media and the guitar, there's not much time to squeeze in a conversation. And that's just me.

Alice Band said...

Dear Old Roads! Lovely to hear from you xxx

DL said...

So, ours aren't the only teenagers who think nothing of breezing into their parents' bedroom! Clearly, we're too old for there to be any need to knock.

Woe betide me if it were the other way round!

Hope the first driving lesson went well. This is when parenthood REALLY gets expensive.

Best wishes,