Let me tell you about the time I was 17 and I was allowed to go out to Barnacles with my sister and her current boyfriend (now husband).
Barnacles, if you don’t know, was a Pub/Pizza jol in Port Alfred. It was a Port Alfred landmark and many a romance, one night stand, drunken career was started there. I learnt to drink Hunters Gold there. I learnt to smoke there and it used to be my favourite haunt in my late teens and early twenties. We’re talking holding on both sides of the toilet cubicle with both hands splayed trying to balance as you pulled up the zipper to your jeans, sipped your Hunters Gold, Benson and Hedges clenched between your teeth and laughing uproariously at your mates jokes. Coz you know, we all used to go the loo in teams….just as a back up.
(My friend once went to a dodgy dive in East London when she was younger and had her shoes stolen off her feet as she sat on the loo having a wee. The girl slipped her hands under the door and grabbed her shoes and did a runner. The friend was so shocked that she was immobile for few minutes before she reacted, but by then it was too late and the girl had vanished to the other side of the Buffalo River.)
My Barnacles era was a time when you leant a lot. You learnt how to squint and lean on the bar counter as you followed a conversation. How to push your boobs out a little further for a free drink and how to dance to Eddy Grant in slow motion on the dance floor. Fun times in the ’90s.
Well this one time, my folks allowed me to go to Barnacles with my sister and her boyfriend. Great excitement I tell you. I remember coiffing and bouffing my perm into submission, tucking my Benny and Henny’s into my bag and off we went in his 1984, 1600 Ford Escort. I couldn’t sit behind the passenger seat, because the seat would move backwards and forwards depending if you were going uphill or downhill. Still, I felt very grown up and ultra cool.
Later that evening, sitting on a bar stool surveying the rest of the pub and dance area all very cool and detached, I nonchalantly lit a cigarette. It was at that moment that the cigarette went up in a blaze of flames and smoke. The music stopped, everyone stopped dancing to watch me, it was then that I, red-faced, noticed that I’d lit the filter side of the cigarette.
It has been 21 years since this shameful, humiliating incident and it is with great relish and joy that I’m reminded of it at every family get together by my sister and husband.
The joys of youth…..