Theoretically speaking, given my restricted teenage years, I should have completely gone off the rails: a wild child, drinking and clubbing and following a life of debauchery. But hey, I like to buck the trend. I am wild... in my own way.
My tolerance for alcohol back then was several shades higher than it is now (which, to be honest, isn't difficult given that my current tolerance is limited to sniffing a glass of wine before passing out). My favourite tipple at the time was Southern Comfort and Coke, or various cocktails gulped through a straw at Miss Pears. The evening was always started off with downing a 'Slippery Nipple' (Baileys and Sambuca), followed by multiple SC&Cs, and then usually a decision was made to either go clubbing, or head to Miss Pears.
Despite my evident tolerance for alcohol, I don't remember going out that often and hence can be classed as a binge drinker by today's standards. Or maybe I just don't remember how often I went out... it's all a bit of a blur.
One night that stands out clearly in my mind was the only night that I ever had a brush with the law (with the exception of kissing a policeman on New Year's Eve). My landlady and drinking partner, Shaz, and I went in to town on a school-night for a 'quick drink'. One quick drink (Slippery Nipple) followed another and before I knew it I was shaking my booty rather wonkily on the dance floor at Shanghai Sam's nightclub.
As usual, by the time we left the club, my feet were killing me. I think I had blisters on my blisters which were not being numbed by the copious amounts of alcohol consumed during the evening. I limped and scraped and moaned - we didn't have that far to walk home.
And then Shaz spotted the shopping trolley and had a Bright Idea.
Shaz: "Quick! Jump in the trolley! I'll push you home!"
Me: "Are you sure you won't tip me out?"
She grabbed a nearby traffic cone. "Wear this on your head and then you'll be safe"
What a fab idea. I hitched up my already short skirt, hiked one leg in to the trolley, then the other, removed my shoes with a sigh of relief, and donned my protective head-gear. Shaz started to push me as fast as she could go. Or at least it felt fast to my inebriated brain.
We had only gone 50 yards or so when a car pulled up alongside us. Oh. It was a white car with florescent stripes and blue lights on the top. Oh, it's a policeman and he's getting out. But he's smiling, which is a good thing. Or rather, smiling but desperately trying to keep a straight face.
"Good morning ladies" he said rather formally (as far as I was concerned we were still on the night before) "Could you please get out of the trolley - it's not safe".
Me: "Oh but we're being safe, Officer. That's why I've got this cone on my head"
He stifled a laugh and then regained his composure.
Policeman: "I won't ask a second time. Where did you get the trolley? Did you steal it from Tesco?"
Me: "No, no! We just found it! We didn't steal anything! Honest! We would have taken it back!"
He sighed. "I won't ask a second time - please get out of the trolley. Where are you going?"
We told him. It wasn't far to walk, we said, we'll be fine. I clambered out of the trolley, displaying far more than he really needed to see, jammed my shoes painfully back on to my feet and started to hobble home.
He got in to his car and drove ahead of us, towards a bend in the road which lead to a small roundabout. Shaz started to commentate his departure: "He's goinnng... he's goinnng.... he's goinnng.... he'sgoinghe'sgoinghe'sgoinghe'sgoing......HE'S GONE! Quick! Back in the trolley!"
We legged the twenty yards or so back to the trolley and I clambered back in, cone firmly planted back on my head, shoes blissfully once again removed from my feet.
And he had gone. That is, he had gone, until he turned round at the roundabout and came back again. They're a suspicious bunch, the police. And strangely enough on that short journey he seemed to have totally lost his sense of humour too.
This time he didn't ask me to get out of the trolley, he asked us whether we would like to spend a night in the cells instead. Party Pooper. I was tempted, purely to trade the pain of walking home with a ride in a nice warm car. But we declined his offer. I clambered out of the trolley, displaying for a second time everything that I had to offer, and he watched as we crossed the road and disappeared out of sight.
Of course, I could say that none of this was my fault - it was after all not my idea to ride in the trolley or wear a traffic cone on my head. But I can't blame Shaz either.
So I think I am left with little option - I'll have to blame the Slippery Nipple.