My topic today is Why did I run away?
I was listening to the Audio Book – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k which can be purchased here and it’s an interesting listen. The author says about how we are sometimes led by our emotions when making decisions. This normally leads to making the wrong decision which set me thinking.
When I was around 13/14 years old. I ran away.
At the time I couldn’t explain why?
30 years later I still struggle to answer.
I remember getting home around tea time. For some reason more than likely teenage hormones, I was down in the dumps. Full on teenage angst. I had been to my sisters and I had been chilling with her fella at the time and I think that maybe we shared a spliff.
Now I know its wrong and some people might frown at a 14-year-old having a spliff but this was the mid 80’s in Liverpool. As a bit of tear-away, if you didn’t fit in, you stood out. Bear in mind, I wore glasses and had spots. I also went to one of the roughest areas in Liverpool to go to school. Smoking weed was a right of passage almost.
The only problem for me is that I already have a very vivid imagination and my brain is occupied with all sorts of weird thoughts. Having the odd spliff probably emphasised my teenage angst.
I’d been watching a TV program called “One Summer” which was an Alan Bleasdale production about a couple of lads who ran away from Liverpool to North Wales. It was good but it all goes tits up for them so maybe I should have paid more attention?
So there I was feeling all angsty and sorry for myself. Then the thought just hit me. “Why don’t I run away?” I can stay off shitty school for a while and have an adventure. “Fuck it. Let’s do it?” I thought.
I had a racer bike at the time, one of them with the curly handles that you had to lean over to ride properly. Old school.
I raided the cupboards for food. Tins. A tin opener. Some Clothes. Socks. That was about it.
Oh yes, a note. I had to write a miserable note. Something along the lines of “Dear Mum and Dad, I have decided to run away because I feel fed up and I don’t know why? I just need a break from stuff. Its nothing you have done I am sorry blah, blah I will be in touch and I don’t know when I will be back?” for dramatic effect.
Looking back, that was part one of me being a selfish dick. I didn’t think or care about my mum and dad at this point. I did think I’d get the time of school. Fuck you school!
I got on my bike and started my journey. Cycling from the Swan to the Pier Head which is about a 7-mile ride. I got to the ferry terminal at around 8 o’clock. With around 70 pence to my name. This covered the ferry fare and left me with about 30p left over.
I’d like to say that I stood on the side of the ferry and waved goodbye to the liver birds for the mere significance but I didn’t.
We got to Birkenhead and I started riding my bike. Riding and riding. I ended up on some main roads which were not that busy it was a Monday night after all? I found some ‘A’ roads that had signs leading to North Wales which I thought I could follow. The ‘A’ roads went on for a bit, then a bit more and then some more.
They led me to a motorway and then after about 45 minutes of riding my bike. The penny slowly started to drop. This wasn’t the best idea that I had. It was approaching 10.30pm and it felt cold and started to drizzle. The motorway gave way to fields, the cold mist across the fields started to spook me out.
This really was a shit idea.
Cars were flying past at 70 mph. A police car flew past. Deflated I pulled over and sat on the embankment on the side of the motorway. Hungry, cold and sad. I felt so stupid what could I do? This was before mobile phones so I had no way to contact me Mum.
I sat underneath a bridge and searched my bag for food. The only tin I could find that I could open was a tin of pineapples. It had a pull lid and didn’t need a tin-opener. That’s how ill-prepared I was. I shoved my hand into the tin and started to eat the pineapples hating the world and blaming everyone but myself.
The police car pulled over that flew past before. Thank God. The Policeman got out.
“What you doing here son?” He asked.
“Eating my pineapples,” I replied.
“Why you here?” He asked.
“I ran away by mistake.” I replied trying not too sob.
“How about your mum and dad? Do they know you’re here?”,
“No” I answered feeling stupid.
“Is there any problems at home?” He asked.
“Why have you run away for?”, “I don’t know I was bored?”
“Get in and come with me” He picked up my back and we went back to the police station. He asked me a few questions and I was just happy to warm and safe. He made me a cup of tea and it was getting on 1.00 am.
“Where’s ya mum and dad?”
“Me mums at home but me dads on nights,” I answered. Dad worked shifts for Fords. I gave him my mum’s number. He rang her up and explained the situation. After a while, he hung up. “She’s going to ring your dad.”
Shit. Dad is going to be mad, he’s at work. Selfish act #2.
I waited for ages and had a few brews, tired and bored. My mum and Dad arrived, my mum all flustered and my Dad looking confused. I expected to get an ear bashing instead I got hugs and tears. They where both so kind and concerned. My dad wasn’t that pissed off just more concerned. I felt like a right dick. They asked why I did it? The only answer I could give them was because I was bored. Selfish Act #3
That’s it. I was a dick! A stupid selfish dick.
Like I said at the beginning I couldn’t think why I did it? But in reflection many years later I realise that I was led by my emotions. I didn’t think it through properly. The teenage angst took over my mind and I didn’t think of the consequences of my action in any way? I could have been kidnapped and bummed. I could have got run over. In hindsight, I was a kid and I think if I could talk to myself back then. I’d be like, “Why are you running away? You dickhead”
Hopefully, I have learnt from this mistake and not let my emotions make up my mind?