Carol has often speculated on my inability to write anything that offers more than a cursory nod to the rest of my life. Bikes this and commuting that, very nice but not really touching on the joys and otherwise of parenting and real life; you know normal kind of everyone-else-does-it stuff. I did offer up the grouting article but she rightly objects since that’s nothing more than a thin veneer of nonsense barely covering yet another riding entry.
So I’ve written one, but from the stormy face I left back at the school, I don’t think she’s going to like it.
Tonight was the School Bingo Night. It was, predictably, fucking awful. Firstly, the worse thing to give kids, when they’re in that dangerous transitional state between hyperactivity and total shutdown, is a ton of sugary sweets. Even before the first number was called, the noise level effortlessly crested the pain barrier and kept on going.
The good news was that there was a bar, the less than good news was my mood was so foul, I dared not risk playing the “alcohol may be a depressant card�?. This had the potential to get violently embarrassing ending in a manic laying about myself with a copy of the register. So instead I shouted at my kids, supported my wife not at all and fired up the inner grumpy.
But honestly Bingo – fuck it’s dull. Old people wait for God playing Bingo along with Whist Drives and Football Pools. At least card games provide an opportunity to cheat, and the pools require some modicum of skill. Whereas bingo is about as interesting a game of chance as shouting out random words from the newspaper and trying to construct a sentence. No actually, that’s more fun, in the spirit of comparative experimentation, I’ve just tried it and come up with Blair, crisps, Iraq and leafy mildew. “Blair’s leafy mildew crisps Iraq” – I may be on to something here.
The poor bugger doing the calling was drowned out by a background hum of a hundred do-gooders asking to repeat the last number, ably supported by a cacophony of children being noisily sick. Still on balance it serves him right. because he was trying to be a character steeped in all the Bingo lore that 10 Internet minutes of novelty calling can provide . “Pick up sticks, number six�? he’d project out to his allegedly adoring crowd. Well all except one who was spluttering Dog Ball Licks, number six. A few other potential crowd pleasers were tragically missed including:
69 – do yourself a line
22 – who put the poo in the loo?
74 – declare martial law.
Parenting at this time is reduced to admonishing your children to stop sticking pencils up other kids noses and helping, for the fortieth time, your five year old understand that 37 is really not quite the same as 73. They predictably got bored after a couple of games of winning nothing as were the kids around them, and we has less bums on seats and more crying, fighting and general unpleasantness as the clock struck bedtime.
Still even soberly marooned on an island Dante would have shied away from, there’s always the cynical sliver of other people’s misery to cheer one up. The jovial “get me, I’m a real card” bingo caller properly lost it as parents with slightly less educational faculties than their six year olds would ask again “how do you spell 14�?. His voice cracked at the same time as his jolly façade, and he was reduced to shouting “I MUST HAVE SILENCE, SILENCE IF WE’RE TO DO THIS PROPERLY”. It’s not the fucking Nuremburg trials I wanted to shout back but felt there was already enough trouble heading my way.
My smallest child, at the end of a long week, basically passed out knackered, dosed up on sticky sweets and coke. I magnanimously offered to take her home although it’s pretty clear that Carol saw through this less than magnanimous ploy.
She was remarkably gentle considering my shitty behaviour with previous misdemeanours to be taken into consideration. But there’s something about forced jollyness and imbibed stupidity that flicks my asshole gland and I like to think there’s nothing I can do about it.
The truth lies somewhere south of this; while the education of the kids is honestly given proper importance, the cruel juxtaposition of paying shitloads of tax every month AND being expected to participate in topping up the school coffers, grates somewhat.
It’s not an excuse really; it provides merely the slightest justification to be an arse even when everyone else seems to be able to enjoy it. I’m coming to the conclusion I’m not a people person.