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This is a question Running away

Two friends ran away from boarding school. They didn't get too far though - they forgot to check when the last train ran. A teacher found them sitting waiting and drove them back again.

That said, it's not just a thing kids do - the urge to just run is built into all of us. Tell us about the times you've given in and run.

(, Fri 11 Aug 2006, 13:03)
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I don't want the navy treatment
My dad was in the navy and was quite strict with me and my brothers (mainly because we were a bunch of hyperactive sods who like to nearly kill each other on a daily basis). He used to box and had hands that looked like they could punch through your face and come out the back of your skull, but he was a born-again christian and would never raise a hand to us. Despite the fact that he had a really rough and poor childhood, I never once heard him say 'Fuck'.

When I was fourteen, I liked to get his attention by telling him that there was no god and that people that believed in that sort of thing were just superstitious fools. Cue a heated argument where neither of us would listen to each other and eventually storm off to our respective santuaries (I had my bedroom, dad had the toilet).

One day I got a bit too passionate, started yelling, and eventually told my dad to 'Oh just fuck off!'.

The minute it was out of my mouth, I knew I'd finally pushed it a bit too far.

Long pause. Long, long pause.

It was the first time I'd ever told my dad to fuck off, and I think it shook him. He jumped up from the sofa and shouted, "That's it! You're going to get the full navy treatment now!" He then charged at me with death in his eyes.

Not wanting to find out what the 'full navy treatment' was, I ran around our thick oak dining table. We then did that 'one person walks around the table and the other walks the opposite way' dance. We did four circuits until, out of frustration, he banged his fist down on the table.

And fuck me, the fucking table broke in half.

I now believed I was dead for certain. I'd pushed him too far. He'd snapped. He'd just broken an inch-thick oak table in half with a single bang from one of his huge, meaty fists. What the hell was he going to do to me?

So I run upstairs into the bathroom, shut the door, lock it, and retreat to sit down on the toilet, quailing in fear. My non-violent, god-fearing, lovely father kicks the door down. I don't think he even broke his stride. It was like that final John Goodman scene out of Barton Fink.

I'm cornered in the bathroom and I'm convinced that I'm going to get the beating of my life. But my dad won't raise a hand to me. Even though he's broken a table and kicked a door in, he won't actually lay a finger on his son.

I leg it, and he lets me go. I run straight out of the house and keep going for about ten miles. I don't have any shoes on, don't have a coat, don't have anywhere to go, but I'm convinced I'm never going to return home. I want to punish my dad by making him worry. I want to disappear forever. And I'm so pumped on adrenalin that I've almost done a half marathon when normally I'd get out of running at school by strategically throwing up after the first lap.

People in the local shopping centre gave me odd looks but didn't do anything. After wandering around for a bit I got to thinking about my future as a runaway. I was hungry. My Fred Perry socks were damp. I was starting to wonder how I'd get to university if I was living in a cardboard box. Would the school accept me back during daylight hours if I smelled of piss?

Eventually I decided I might as well go back home and apologise to my dad. I was too middle class to rough it. I liked television and creme eggs too much.

I'm walking back down the main road to home and in the distance I see this large man riding a small lady's happy shopper bike. It's my dad. His car's broken down and he's feeling terrible about losing his temper. He's gone out in search of his son to profusely apologise. He's pedaling like a freak on my mum's little bike.

Despite the fact that I was going home anyway, I sprint off in the opposite direction. If I was going home, I was going to do it on my own terms. He'd never catch me!

I'd run too much that night though and I got a stitch. So I stopped and waited for my happy-shopper-riding, oak-table-breaking, toilet-door-toppling, born-again-christian, never-said-fuck-in-front-of-me father to catch up.

He does and he looks awful. This is a man who's deeply ashamed of losing his temper and he's been shit-scared enough of losing me or any harm coming to me that he's riden that fucking silly bike around town like a prize gimp. We exchange shameful glances and I walk with him home. Along the way we have a really good talk. I apologise. He apologises. We're good friends again.

I like to think of this as my rite of passage into adulthood. My dad talked to me like I was an adult after that day, and I never told him to fuck off again.

I'm also glad I never found out what the 'navy treatment' actually is.
(, Mon 14 Aug 2006, 22:51, closed)

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