When we’re all fully grown
Over the past week, I’ve had some very stark reminders of my adulthood, that have had me humming Pulp’s Disco 2000 to myself.
It all started on Wednesday with a seemingly normal conference in London, that became bizarre when I bumped into my ex from school who I hadn’t seen for 15 years (since we bumped into each other in a nightclub in London, strangely). He now lives near me and is married with kids (as you’d expect from a nearly 40 year old)! Our relationship had been on and off for a good ten years and had never been straightforward and always ended acrimoniously. Therefore, while incredibly odd, it was also strangely heartening to meet in our professional capacities and catch up (briefly considering we were limited by conference breaks). It left me with a similar feeling to the one I had after I attended a class reunion a few years ago, having finally heard the end of the story of someone who played such a big part of my life. I walked away feeling that some very dark ghosts had finally been laid to rest. We chatted, and while it was mostly polite conversation, we got on, but the occasional references to our history, were clearly very much in the past, back when we were just kids.
The next “Wham! You’re all grown up!” event took place as we went for a quick walk around a local park on Sunday to enjoy some fresh air before the impending storm broke. We ran, we laughed, we picked up acorns and leaves and then we went back to the car… to find the passenger window smashed, the glove box open and the sat nav, wife’s bank cards (that she’d put in there thinking it safer than carrying them) and our beloved SLR camera all gone.
I think the thieves had been disturbed as there were other items they could have taken, including the car seats, but it seemed they’d just grabbed what they could and left. We’d not been in the park for much more than half an hour. So we did all the grown up stuff and called the police, the insurance, the banks, and then set about securing the car against the impending weather, and any passing opportunistic thieves.
Finally, of course, was the storm St Jude that was rumoured to rival the great storm of 1987. As I was 12 at the time of that one, I remember it quite clearly and was well-prepared for every eventuality. We gathered the torches, candles, batteries and matches from the camping gear in the garden shed and even got out the camping kettle to make obligatory cups of tea to get through a natural disaster in true British style. We spent a good hour on Saturday moving all of the garden toys into one corner of the garden, carefully laying down any garden ornaments, and turning the benches and tables upside down. And in final preparation, we put batteries in the cheap radio and charged our phones and laptop in case of a powercut. We were ready for St Jude and she blew and howled at the windows for most of the night, gradually increasing in intensity as the sun dawned.
We lay in bed, listening to her roar and then my heart sunk as I heard glass smashing. I was certain that it wasn’t the car as it tinkled too much, but what was it? I went downstairs and ventured carefully outside to confirm that it was a side panel from the lean-to greenhouse. Not a disaster as I’ve been wanting to get rid of it anyway. Unfortunately, it had not blown the glass inwards as you would expect, but blown it out and then scattered it literally all over the garden, up the side of the house, onto the summerhouse terrace and into the grass on either side of the garden. I can only assume this is the sort of cyclonic wind they sometimes refer to.
So, while a man put a temporary window in the car, I spent a long time picking up tiny shards of glass from the mud, grass and weeds. There is bound to be more there, but I think I got most of it. Today, the car will get properly repaired and tomorrow we’ll file a crime report. And then, hopefully we can get on with having a fun half term break instead of all this silly grown up rubbish that’s been interfering with our enjoyment. We were meant to be heading to London for a night to catch up with family and visit a museum and some shops, but that has had to be cancelled, so I’m trying to find some other exciting (and cheap) things to do instead. All suggestions welcome! And make them as childish as you can – being grown up is oh, so boring!