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Away In Romania

There was no Patrick Swayze to whisk me away from the corner of my room to teach me dirty dancing after twelve that Old Year’s Eve at the Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh.

I was too young to go – by one day.

My birthday falls on the day after New Year – then I would turn sixteen.

We’d spent fourteen years of Decembers there.

With the same families and their children.

When exams started, pre-Blue Marlin anticipation intensified – comparable to the pre-birth anticipation parents feel, memories mysteriously wiped blank of previous Births of Death.

My father [a famous racing driver] would then attempt to break his record time there, to be greeted by Uncle Clive [all adults were ‘aunty’ and ‘uncle’], stopwatch in hand, and Bobby the barman – a scotch in his.

We couldn’t wait to get inside – in fact, the Standton’s kids used to travel in their cozzies so they could run straight into the pool from the car! The pool – now liquid, would slowly morph into a solid over the following three weeks.

The dining room was run by Dori the one-eyed head-waiter, where
the same Indian staff would serve the same meals every year. We always landed up with Basil. I remember him because he shared a name with my legendary father [insert sound of ironic chuckles here].

The manager Tony Thompson lived in the penthouse with his wife and three handsome sons [if you cracked an invite up there your name rapidly advanced a massive leap on the leader board].

I went up.

With one of the cool girls.

A mercy entry – she was part of the ‘Cool Crowd’ with whom I hung out, by no choice of theirs, but because they were the offspring of my parents’ friends.

She’s fat now – I’m thin [But why couldn’t I be then when I gave a shit and needed to be popular?].

They were allowed to be teenagers.

I was allowed to watch them.

So most of the time they were safe to include me by exclusion – inviting me everywhere, knowing that I wouldn’t be allowed to go.

They’d suntan outside the Lifesavers Club, competing for the attention of Goldie – the sun-bleached-tousle-haired-lifesaver, who’d broken more hearts than he’d resuscitated. Guys wanted to be him, girls wanted to be with him.

I wanted to be with anyone other than my parents waiting to turn sixteen.

I remember having witnessed them smooching, smoking, sneaking out and getting slammed – accompanied by feelings of soul-contaminating shame, feelings stemming from a design of values my parents had tattooed on my cerebellum.

Eventually I lazered them loose. They didn’t get far. They now envelop my entire body in a design of a Phoenix bird – rising from the ashes of the Blue Marlin Hotel.

On “Countries Of The World Night” Uncle Dave came as ‘Thailand’ – with a zillion neckties tied around him.

Uncle Keith came in his jogging gear – ‘Iran’.

I went as ‘Romania’.

That’s because I’d chosen to stay in my room rather than attend such a lame event – so had Patrick Swayze.

The Cool Crowd were at a disco in town.

The next day I turned sixteen and, like every year, we spent my birthday on the road home.

I was lobotomized.

I was Jack Nicholson at the end of ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’.

Which is exactly what Aunty Cecile [real-life bird’s nest pinned in her hair!] came as on “Movie Night”.

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  1. October 21st, 2009 at 10:54 | #1

    lol @ Aunt Cecile!

    We never stayed in hotels when I was a kid. There was just no money!

  2. avatar
    October 27th, 2009 at 09:27 | #2

    Nice memories, the good old Blue Marlin!

  1. July 25th, 2013 at 20:40 | #1

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