Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Noodles, Girls, Alcohol And Life.

One evening last week I was in the local noodle bar. When I say "local" I mean local for me, not really for you, unless you live quite near me of course.

I like this place and tend to get a few takeaways from it on a regular basis. Sometimes me and the girls walk down there and sit and stuff our faces merrily. It's basically a Chinese restaurant, with restaurant prices. But cleverly, in order to be able to justify the term "noodle bar" they have a menu that's only got about half the amount of dishes you'd get in a restaurant and it has café style seating and tables. Cunning. The food however, is delicious.

I don't know if you live on your own but, as you may be aware, I do, well, mostly. It's an interestingly and ongoing challenge this relatively new single life. One of the results of the divorce is that I lost many, many friends. Society is such that a huge proportion of my friends were ones that I shared with my ex wife and many made judgements and the like. These things happen and the man who is seen to leave his wife and kids is never going to get much sympathy from some.

And now, going through this rebuilding my life thing, most of my friends are married with kids anyway. So social things have to be arranged weeks in advance. Such is life and when I have the girls or when C's here it's all jolly and different.

The rest of the time, which is most of it, I'm on my own. It's fortunate that I'm quite fond of myself, in fact I'm one of my favourite people, so I'm usually fairly mellow and content. I potter about in RD Towers, I read, drum, try to write and do all sorts of things that I want to do.

Then it gets to dinner time and I wonder what to eat. Cooking for one is weird. It's a lot of effort when I'm the only diner. There's no sense of someone appreciating my effort or liking the food as I've been tasting it all along the way and know what's coming. Normally I do it and cook something in such a quantity that it'll last for a few days, that kind of makes it worthwhile.

Eating out on my own is curiously challenging. In some countries, Singapore and even Sri Lanka for example, it's easy and common. Over here it still gets a few glances, more so in the evening than at lunchtime. So I'm a bit wary of it, though I find myself getting better at it and less self conscious as time ticks on.

The aforementioned noodle bar is one of the places that I feel comfortable eating alone in. We'll call it S.

This time I was waiting for a takeaway. S is run, I assume owned as well, by a matriarchal Chinese woman. She must be about sixty, is always warm and friendly to the customers and often shouts with ferocity at her staff. I know this because the walls are thin there.

The phone rang and the matriarch answered it. It became apparent that it was a regular customer. As the conversation progressed I realised that it was a regular customer telling the matriarch that their daughter was heading that way on the Friday with some friends. The customer was asking the owner to refrain from serving any alcohol to the group as they'd probably ask for it.

Matriarch, in her matriarchal way, was saying that it won't be a problem at all, that she'd refuse any request for alcohol and had her methods of controlling rowdy groups of teenage girls. I looked on and felt both admiration and belief. Sometimes you just know that these things are true.

A couple of days later I was to be found busily and happily setting up my drums for that evening's gig. My phone rang and I answered it. It was A, the fifteen year old.

"Dad" she said, in that slightly too dynamic and buoyant way that immediately told me she was with friends.

"Oh hello A, how's it going?" said I.

"Dad, Dad, I'm in S, what was the dish you had last time, I really liked it."

"Eh?" I said.

"That prawn thing you had, last time we went to S, the one I liked. What was it called?"

"Oh, that was the King Prawn curry with egg fried rice." I said, as the cogs started to turn in my head.

"You're in S are you? With who?"

And she reeled off a list of girls' names.

Kerching, kerching, kerching, was the noise as things in my head all dropped into place and I realised that alcohol is my new challenge to be faced as a parent, then wondered why I could hear the sound of a cash register. Sometimes these sound effects don't quite cut it, but what exactly is the noise a conclusion makes?

The noise matters not, it's the coming years I fear.

Oh shit!


N said...

That really scares the crap out of me about the prospect of having kids, they might do all the things I did as a kid...

DD said...

Starting with my eldest sisters kids we always had drinks in the house freely accessible to the kids. They were not encouraged to tipple and get raging drunk, but even in a restaurant, a beer shandy was given or offered them from the time they were as young as five years. And as they grew up having a drink with the family it was never an issue. By the time my nephews and nieces reached the teenage age where drinking was the way to establish your street creds for them it had become no big deal and a choice. The same for the kid now that she's a teenager. Many a time she takes a gulp from my voddy red bulls and we have people glaring at us in restaurants, but when she's with her friends its never an issue.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

N - Yes, it's a worse thought when they're girls and I remember what me and my bros did!

DD - It's a puzzling concept to pitch right methinks. I just have to trust that they'll be sensible most of the time.

Ahamed Nizar said...

Its alot better if children are around small doses of alcohol at early stages at their lives. they will then understand its effects and its drawbacks.
Once they reach their teen years they will be lot more relaxed around alcohol and won't over do it.

As experts say.

ying_yang said...

Sometimes watching teenage movies together with your kids helps to open up the discussion about alcohol, appropriate behavior with their current or future crush and other such critical issues.

It's hard for you because you are not around the kids all the time. Plus you are not the mom, and probably can't read body language so well. Still I would try talking things through.

love your posts by the way.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ahamed - I think I agree with you on that one, but as all kids are different I'm unsure on generalising as to what's best.

Ying Yang - Thanks for reading and enjoying, in all honesty they're pretty sensible kids, so hopefully things will be ok.

Cadence said...

RD this is probably one of my favourite posts on ur blog! :)

You should have had a camera handy to capture the look on ur face when reality dawned. lol.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Why Ms Cadence, thank you kindly for the compliment indeed.