Thursday, November 07, 2002


Teenage angst. Teenage angst. Where do I begin? My brother had it bad. He was seventeen, passed his driving test and needed wheels. After the death of the Renault Four that Mum had bought for us kids - thrashed into an early grave on a trip down to Wales on the M4 - all we had was the family saloon. And Nige needed it. A lot. To such an extent that Mum ended up buying a bike to get anywhere, and I was happy enough to get on Shank’s Pony and walk down the pub of an evening.

Every night he was the taxi service for his mates, going down pubs, hanging around or spending time with the lovely Susan he accidentally ended up not marrying. It was all getting a bit much. We couldn’t even do basic things. Like shopping. Getting out to see friends. Or running over the neighbours. Cue massive argument.

It started with quiet, reasoned voices, discussing why Nige ought to use the family car less, contribute to the petrol and servicing, or perhaps even go out and buy his own. That went down well.

Three seconds later came the first “IT’S NOT FAIR!” followed 2.7 seconds later by the first “I HATE YOU ALL!” followed by a lengthy gap of 18.3 seconds in which the state of his bedroom and the costs involved in feeding him were pointed out. This led to to the first “I DON’T HAVE TO LIVE HERE YOU KNOW!” and another “IT’S NOT FAIR!”

I hid in the kitchen.

A door slammed. Nige stormed out aiming a “RIGHT! I DON’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS CRAP, I’M GOING OUT!” over his shoulder to anyone who was listening. Out of the house he stomped, slamming the front door almost off its hinges.

A peaceful calm descended over the house.

The dog came out from behind the sofa.

A small herd of deer flitted across the garden.

Slowly, the front door opened again. Nige, looking shame-faced with the storms of anger still swirling over his brow crept back into the house.

“What do you want?” asked Mum, sweetly.


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