Something For The Weekend
You’ll have to excuse me now, because I’m going to go all soft and nostalgic and take you back to the days A Long Time Ago when the weekend meant something entirely different to what it means to me now. Bear with me on this, as you read on, you’ll get the drift and you’ll start thinking ‘Oh.. yeah. YEAH’,
Back in the day, and you’ll have to forgive me here because I am officially an Old Person and therefore, I might ramble on about things that are Before Your Time. Google it. And that’s something that no-one ever did back in the day!
Ah, nostalgia. It ain’t what it used to be. Is it only me who thinks back to their gilded youth and sees it through rose tinted spectacles? Were summers really longer and hotter? Was there really more snow in the winters? Was life really more simplistic, or do we embellish the past with a fondness and a hankering for how it used to be by only recalling the good bits and forgetting about the bad? For every long, hot summer, we got sunburt. Every heavy snowfall meant chapped lips and frozen fingers, icicles on the inside of your bedroom window because you didn’t have central heating and your bedroom resembled the Arctic Circle. Life wasn’t really any more simplistic than today will seem to future generations in fifty years’ time, we just sometimes create a past that’s more pleasant than the present because the present is, well, fucking shit.
In my Extreme Youth, I used to love weekends. Being employed by the City Council, and the work ethic within this organisation being close to non-existant, the weekend usually began some time mid afternoon on a Thursday when some poor unsuspecting being would ask ‘Anyone fancy anything from the shop?’ and the next minute there’s about 75 people who cannot live without a Fry’s Chocolate Cream and a can of coke. The Unsuspecting Being would disappear for a couple of hours with a shopping list as long as their left arm and the rest of the afternoon would be spent trying to sort out whose change was who’s and does anyone want that Walnut Whip because of not, I’ll have it. I worked in the Housing Maintenance Division. We were responsible for allocating repairs for tenants who’d reported Things Going Wrong With Their Council House. Thursday afternoons were probably the sole reason for much of the dilapidated housing stock belonging to the Council in the late 1980’s and entirely to blame for an outbreak of Dysentry involving several occupants of a house with a leaking toilet cistern that didn’t get looked at until the following Monday.
Friday always passed in a pleasantly anticipatory mood, starting with breakfast from the Café on the corner and continuing tipsily through the very short afternoon (we worked flexi time which basically meant as little as possible) because after breakfast, we’d all head off to Rigby’s, conveniently situated across the road from the Municipal Buildings and spend the rest of the day imbibing pints of real ale and Mateus Rose if we were feeling sophisticated. Meanwhile, someone would be listening to the ringing out of the telephone in a deserted office and saying in a pained voice to several grubby looking children clutching their stomachs ‘No, kids, you can’t use the toilet till the man from the council comes to fix it. You’ll just have to hold it in’. Such is life.
We council workers meanwhile, having spent the equivalent of the national debt in the pub across the road, we’d get back to the office late Friday afternoon with no intention of doing any work, obviously; but simply to Get Changed For A Night Out. The cleaners probably hated us because they’d start their cleaning up of the offices and the restrooms just around the time that we would all take occupation of every single public convenience in the building and proceed to make it as dirty and untidy as possible, littering it with spilled make up, beer bottles and Cinzano Bianco bottles (very classy), and the remains of yesterday’s Walnut Whip that nobody wanted. Then we’d hit the town in what can only be described as a demonstration of human endurance in the face of alcohol consumption within a given time limit.
Pub after pub would be greeted with our drunken presence and then, when it was chucking out and chucking up time, we’d head haphazardly to the clubs where we’d waste valuable drinking time trying to persuade the club doormen (or Bouncers, as they were known, due to their tendency to bounce undesirable people from the council away from the door of their establishment) that we were not, in fact, drunk at all and had not been drinking anything alcoholic since approximately half past eleven that morning. Eventually, our sheer tenacity would gain us entry and we’d make up for the lost time we’d spent arguing with the doormen about whether we were drunk or not and we’d get more drunk.
Drinking would be interspersed with occasional forays onto the dance floor so that the girls could throw their bags onto the floor, form a circle around them and flail their limbs in varying directions whilst checking their reflections in the mirrored ceiling and applying more false tan if they felt it necessary. Come on, this is Liverpool. These are scouse birds on a night out. There is going to be false tan applied. The blokes meanwhile would shuffle incomprehensibly around the dance floor eyeing up the talent and rubbing false tan off their white suits every so often so the wife didn’t get the impression that they were out on the town on a Friday night with a load of drunken scouse birds.
Eventually, the management would get tired and at around 2am, every single licensed premise in the city would chuck everyone out onto the pavement and we would all have to vie each other for one of the three taxi cabs available to transport the entire population of Liverpool under the age of twenty one. Someone would inevitably throw up the contents of their stomach onto the taxi floor thus demonstrating to everyone how much they’d drank that evening and the taxi driver would sigh and hand you an ineffective roll of Andrex and there wouldn’t be any sign of a fucking puppy.
You’d get home roughly around the same time as the milkman was delivering the milk on a Saturday morning and that happily meant that you could have cornflakes for breakfast before heaving yourself up the stairs and hopefully not falling into bed with your parents. If this was achieved and you had the bed to yourself, you’d then fall into a drunken coma and not awaken much before you had to get ready to repeat the process on Saturday night.
Sunday didn’t exist at all, and in no time whatsoever, you’d be dragging yourself, ashen faced and of a delicate disposition, back into the council offices on a Monday morning and you’d be wondering why the restrooms were so untidy and why a guy from the Health And Safety Department was waiting outside for you to discuss an outbreak of dysentry that had occurred the previous Friday.
It’s no wonder we look back so fondly at the weekends of our Extreme Youth, and isn’t it a shame that when we enter the realms of being an Old Person, a comfy armchair and The Times Colour Supplement becomes the something for the weekend that we’ve been looking forward to since Monday. Oh, and possibly a Walnut Whip but only if you’re feeling really frisky.
© Amy J Steinberg 2017