This is one of the articles I have moved over from my old website. It was first published in 2011.
I was going to call this post ‘Rivers of Vomit’ but Himself said there was far too much vomit in it, without putting it in the title.
Last weekend, my seventeen year old son walked eleven miles home from a party at 5:30 in the morning. Well actually it was 11.8 miles, he insisted we check on google maps, so that I could fully understand the extent of his pain.
For someone that normally sleeps until well after mid-day, and who had the beginnings of a hangover, this four hour trek was something of a feat. And the reason for his untimely escape from the all-night party? Rivers of vomit of course. He had been sharing a room with nine other lads, and six of them were vomiting. Not all of them in an appropriate receptacle.
“Why didn’t you phone me” says I (he knows I am usually up early)
“Smm…ph ..sw…..pool ” mutters he in a suspiciously evasive manner
“Excuse me?” says I
“ I got in the pool with my phone in my pocket” says he contritely. Images of teenagers, alcohol and deep water jostle for space in my head, and I beam with relief in the knowledge that he is not drowned.
Apparently, walking eleven miles, in damp swimming shorts, with a hangover, whilst worrying what your Mum will say when she finds out you have trashed your phone, can play havoc with a chap’s peace of mind.
He wanders off, his belief that I am in a precarious mental state further reinforced by my unexpected indifference to the plight of his electrical equipment.
It seems that nothing changes. I recall my parents kindly vacating our home on my eighteenth birthday so that I could celebrate in style with my friends. I seem to remember spending the entire evening torn between kissing my boyfriend’s best mate without being spotted, and racing from room to room to make sure no-one was showing the tell tale signs of an impending ‘chunder’. It was not a relaxing evening.
This is definitely not a new phenomen, whatever the newspapers would have you think. More than one student had to have their stomach pumped during my first year at university, and that was over thirty years ago.
My elder son (against my advice I might add) took his precious ‘bowler hat’ (it’s a long story) to his first vomiting event. I don’t have to tell you that he didn’t come home with it, the ‘bowl’ part being the clue. My daughters had similar experiences in their teens, sometimes quite frightening ones with friends getting so drunk that they lost consciousness completely.
Between the ages of sixteen (probably younger these days) and twenty are prime years for lack of control in the presence of copious quantities of alcohol. And there is very little parents can do once teenagers are partying unsupervised except put the evil moment off as long as possible, drill their kids in the art of putting their friends in the recovery position, and hope that other parents have done the same.
You can however avoid your home being turned into vomit city. The solution is simple. Don’t let anyone under twenty have a party in your house.
Your damned right it is. But it’s your home. And it doesn’t matter how sensible they are, in every group of twenty teenagers there are at least two who throw up at every party. Without exception.
If you feel sorry for your offspring as a landmark birthday approaches and appeals for a party gather strength, then hire a hall. Alternatively, pay for them to go for a meal with their mates, send them off paintballing, beg permission for them to camp in a field. Whatever your wallet can stretch to.
But don’t let them have an unsupervised party in your home.
Fail to heed these words of warning and you could end up like my friend, who arrived home and opened her front door at twelve-thirty to find rivers of vomit running down her stairs.