A stupid thing. When I was 9 I travelled to Europe with my dad, really just backpacking around for five weeks. There was a bomb on our TGV train and the bomb squad came to the paddock we had stopped in, we nearly starved in Switzerland when our funds ran low, an French man collapsed next to me on the floor of a restaurant and vomited all over my shoe, Gypsies in Spain tried to mug us, we were possibly drugged and our bags stolen from under our heads on the night train in northern Italy - all of that happened, but possibly the stupidest thing happened on the way there, and for the first few hours after we arrived…
I was pretty excited by flying on the 747, and really early in the flight I discovered that every time I pressed the little button with a lady symbol on it, a hostess would appear and I could ask for a cup of tea. Going through my fatkid phase, I’d order my tea sweet with milk, and each time I’d order a tea I’d also score an assorted cream. I was happy, with the QANTAS kids book, and the headphones playing - but I don’t think I got any sleep, probably because of the caffeine in all the tea I was drinking. I don’t know how far into the flight it was, but at some point I decided that I would see how many sweet milky cups of tea I could get the hostesses to bring me. Sort of like Boonie, but with tea.
Well by the time we touched down at Heathrow, I’d consumed 24 cups of tea and at least that many assorted creams.
Fast forward 2 or 3 hours and the scene is our room at the Tavistock hotel - certainly the fanciest place we stayed at for the entire trip. I had developed such an explosive case of diarrhoea from the volume of tea I had consumed, that I kind of erupted like an inverted volcano. Sheets, towels, bath mat, even I think some curtains - it all got tainted by the flux and ejecta of a force nine shitstorm. My poor dad just had to make do, mop up around the edges, and stay mainly out of the way.
The next morning dad piles up what looks like a mountain of smeared and browned sheets, towels, mat and blankets, ruined tracksuit pants, puts a 20 pound note on top with a very short note: just ‘sorry’.
I remember dad closing the door carefully on the way out, and then we sort of hurriedly left out into the freshness of the exhaust fumes on the street.
I waddled on, a slightly thinner but wiser fatkid.