So, back in the day as a younger, more simple soul…I would fall in love with monotonous regularity. I am pretty sure that teenagers the world over suffer from this. Especially hormone riddled males of the species.
When you became besotted with a particular person, you would go pretty far in your own little pursuit of happiness. With that in mind, and trying to forget the fact that I seem to have regressed to this exact stage recently, I bring you a tale of 15 year old Dave, overcome with desire for a particular 16 year old lady.
The first thing you should know about me, I never really had any desire to join the Armed Forces. I lived the life, enjoyed the perks and ignored the dangers, but it was never really in my foreseeable future to join up. I had plans, such grand plans and the Armed Forces were never going to do it for me.
So you can imagine the surprise expressed by my parents, when I came home one day and let them know that I was joining the A.T.C. (Air Training Corps). The A.T.C is essentially the Junior Air Force without all that pesky war zone stuff. You would do drills, learn marksmanship, team activities and a whole host of other stuff. You also wore, what was essentially, the RAF Uniform.
I think they assumed it would be good for me and would help me become a better person or something. Which meant that they didn’t really question me. This was good, as I hadn’t really been able to formulate an excuse for wanting to join up. Don’t get me wrong, it had some nice side benefits. My Dad showing me how to polish your boots properly and press your uniform in that “Just Right” fashion that is expected of those wearing it, was great. Quality time with Dad, check. Becoming a Marksman with a variety of weapons was also fun. I did actually have a good time when I got there…but my reasoning may have raised an eyebrow or two in my general direction. I’ll take you back a few weeks before I walk through the door and announce my intentions to join up.
It is a few weeks earlier and I am at school with mates…
Friend 1: “You doing anything this half-term then?”
Me: “Don’t think so, Dad has to work, so we are deffo staying here”
Friend 2: “Same here, anything going on?”
Friend 1: “ATC have their weekend BBQ and Party. Doesn’t help you two though”
Me / Friend 2: “Party?? What Party??”
Friend 1: “They do it every year. Camp out for 3 days and do a massive BBQ Party. Music and the whole thing. You can take your own tent or share one of the massive ones”
Me: “Amanda (Can’t remember her actual name…sorry) is in the ATC right?”
Friend 1: “Oh dear…yes, yes she is”
Friend 2: “Dave, where are you going?”
Me: “Joining up, you coming?”
You needed to be a member for a while before they would allow you to the party. They didn’t want people just joining up for the BBQ weekend and then leaving you see. So the timing of the conversation was good as it meant I joined up just before the cut off time. What it meant, however, was that I had a few months of ATC’ing to do before the party. As I already said, it definitely had its benefits, and I did actually enjoy it…but I always knew I was only going to be there until after the party.
So, did it work? Well, yes and no. We got together on the weekend of the party and then had a blissful month together before we both “fell in love” again and went our separate ways.
I do know that I took my own tent, I also know that we had a moment of terror when they came around shining torches on the walls of the tents to make sure that the hormonal teenagers were actually asleep and, more importantly, alone.
I also know that I left the A.T.C about a week after Amanda and I broke up.
Totally worth it though.