KITCHEN SINK DRAMA
Roads from me on the microphone, but on the plus side, he was probably the beneficiary of an impromptu whip-round along the way — something that, back then, seemed compulsory on all buses that didn’t have a number on the front.
Compare his experience, though, with that of the man who brought The Teenager and company from a Debs ball in Tullamore — Tullamore! — back to Dublin at 7.30 last Thursday morning. According to a mercifully reliable witness, this man had to endure at least two fights (the boys) before the revellers even
Dispatching a 16year-old in high heels to a strange boy’s Debs was not a comfortable parenting moment
embarked on his bus, and another brace on the two-hour journey home. He also bore witness to a hell of a lot of crying (the girls), at least two instances of vomiting, and one enthusiastic young buck endeavouring to enlist those few passengers who remained upright in a spirited rendition of The Bus Driver’s A W***er. I keep imagining that poor man’s frame of mind when the last of the party people stumbled off his vomit-scented bus and into the cold morning. I wonder if he was dreaming of a better world, in which, perhaps, he is captain of the sh*** boat.
Sometimes, it takes an outsider to point out that a lot of the stuff we do in this country is just plain bonkers. The Husband, who comes from a place where Debs balls are the sole preserve of about a dozen toffs a year, has gone from idle bemusement over our Debs tradition to, now that his daughter’s involved, utter horror. He simply can’t believe that any adult thinks it’s a good idea to dispatch a couple of hundred teenagers — at least half of whom are most likely under-age — to a hotel in the middle of nowhere for an overnight stint of unsupervised intensive drinking and dancing. That most of the adults complicit in this craziness are either parents or teachers is, to him, astonishing.
Me, I am more ambivalent about the whole Debs thing. My own was a wonderful milestone event, the culmination of two feverish years in which, aside from the pesky distraction of the Leaving Cert, we quite literally talked about nothing else. And perhaps because I didn’t get sick or dumped, I want my own children to enjoy a similar coming-of-age experience at the end of their school life. But yes, I will concede that dispatching a 16-year-old in teetering heels and a slashed skirt off to share in a strange boy’s overnight shenanigans was not one of the more comfortable experiences of parenthood. And that all the time she was gone, I was edging ever closer to the Husband’s theory of bonkers.
But she came home; upright, coherent, and with only minor dramas to report. And for my part, I moved back from bonkers to Part of What We Are. But honestly, try telling that to the unfortunate bus driver.