Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Not going - again

Anyone who has had anything to do with any teenager will know that is impossible to make arrangements with them that can be kept to, unless you stand over them with a gun to their head and they sincerely believe that you are prepared to pull the trigger. Even then it usually doesn't work out the way you expect.

For the last generation who have grown up with instant communication via SMS or Facebook, the speed at which arrangements can be changed has increased one hundredfold, so it is impossible for their parents - let alone grandparents - to keep up with the latest.

Bearing this in mind, you will not be surprised to learn that I did not take Green Eyes to Glastonbury yesterday, and have no plans to take her today either.  I received an SMS from her about 2 hours before we were due to depart yesterday, asking if I would hate her even more if we left an hour later than had been arranged the day before.

I replied in the affirmative and told her that the appointed hour would be the one we depart at, otherwise she could get herself to the place.  I asked her why she wanted this extra hour, and she replied by saying that she had not packed yet and also needed to go out and get some alcohol to take with her, booze being expensive on site.

She has known about this forthcoming little event at Glastonbury for over a year now, so how she has managed to leave it until half an hour before making the 35 mile trip to fetch a tent from the house of a friend is mind-bogglingly inexplicable.

She must have wondered why the difference of one hour out of 24 had thrown me into such anguish, but I really think that teenagers just don't understand the effect that endlessly repeated changes to arrangements have on people over the age of 50. I decided that if I gave in and accepted this minor change, then it would change again and I would end up committing whatever the equivalent of infanticide is when applied to the late teens - plain old 'murder', I suppose.

It didn't help when she told me to 'chill out', when I became slightly confused and heated about why she didn't want to accept a different lift on the same day. Something to do with not wanting to arrive on site on her own - 'on her own' amongst 200,000 people, about 50 of whom she personally knows.

"How am I supposed to find my friends in amongst 200,000 other people at Glastonbury?" she wailed.

"You know that thing which you have in your hand, through which you can now hear me talking?" I reasoned, "Well, it's called a 'mobile phone'. I think you will find that all your friends have one as well. You may remember using it only a minute ago to contact one of them to change the arrangements for me taking you to the field with 200,000 people in it. I am sure - no, I am convinced - that 'mobile phones' work at Glastonbury, as they have had a lot of experience over the years in fine-tuning the technology."

"Chill out!"

Well, to cut a long story short, I have off-loaded the brats onto another 60 year-old friend who is going to Glastonbury today, and because he is old enough to know better, I don't feel guilty about it. What I have not told Green Eyes is that the Land Rover has no side windows. It should be an unpleasant journey, and the journey will take about 5 times longer than yesterday, because they opened the gates this morning at 8.00 am.

She sent me a text to thank me for arranging it all for her. Heh heh heh...

I have to admit though, I still get the odd pang that I am missing out on something every year, but it soon passes.


  1. I didn't know till now that being a grandparent might be stress too - I am still dreaming of becoming a soft, friendly deary, spoiling my (not born yet) grandchildren... "Boundaries" I set for my son - now it's his turn (though I understand that if you had an important appointment, you must be firm too). Changing or not making any plans: I think that is ... YOUTH... and makes life so...unpredictable, and exciting. I think deep down you are very, very kind, and she knows it (and one look from these green eyes and you do what she wants - under protest, of course).

  2. Grinning from ear to ear. I have the added luxury of confiscating phones and issuing them on an as needed basis. My lot need to show up on time or walk. As I explained to my grandson about missing the school bus, he will walk, and at a swift pace can cover the seven plus miles in a couple of hours, missing at the most two classes. Your method of dis-embroiling yourself from the drama is nicely effective, too.

  3. I remember running ragged for my son - and that was before the days of mobile phones. Well done you to make a stand. Why not creep into Glasto without her knowing - in that crowd the chances of meeting are pretty slim,

  4. There was once a child-finding device (in the USA) called 'The Little Bugger'. Maybe ole Green eyes should wear one.

    Yours, Mr Grumpy Old Person.

  5. Will she care. Will she 'L' - as long as it's got 4 wheels and she gets there. Home your green eyed little darling has a (safe) and wonderful time. You'll probably worry about her all the time she's there. That's what Grandads do.

  6. Well she's there and happy. Now I am waiting for the rescue call, but I have all weekend for that, and since there will be 200,000 people heading this way on monday, I hope she will find an alternative...