I woke up on Sunday morning, squished into a begrudging big spoon position. I crashed my friend’s single bed after celebrating her 19’th birthday. Like the millennial I am, the first thing I do is to check my messages. I sift through group chats of bank account numbers to share Ubers from last night, the requests of pictures that grow blurrier as the night went on. My mate wakes and she chortles at her drunken snap stories.
“God I don’t remember this.”
“Shit… so we did actually steal a road sign.”
She shows me a dark picture of us posing rather proudly with a decapitated road sign. I laugh, thinking of the added collection to the last road sign we took, road cones, parking arm and the cost and burden the youth are to the Auckland transport committee.
I’m scrolling through Instagram, amid the fitspo sunshine posts and thinly veiled sponsorships from gram models, I check my DMs.
“Oh Fuck. Oh shit. HOLY MOTHER OF SHIT”
I’d drunk messaged my manager.
If my heart didn’t already plummet to six feet deep, it was in full throttle in the direction of YOU FUCKED UP.
“Oi what’s ur snapshat I’m drunk af surely we get a steak,” isn’t really that professional. I don’t remember sending her that cheeky lil networking invite through snap-streaks at all. Bless the stars I work in a rather ‘hip and trendy’ retail store, and after my flurried apology she’d replied with three laughing emojis and, “AS long as you go to work ;D” that morning.
You know the films where the protagonist is hit suddenly with a flashback, so the backstory of the narrative is neatly presented in a visual montage format. That was me. In which I lived through every embarrassing thing I’d done or said from last night.
Like the piss poor flirting, like the “Here are my tits, omg I’m so 19 hahaha,” I’d sent to someone I thought was cute.
I’m so 19, as if 19 was the magic number of being able to find success within desperation and refuge for reckless behaviour.
It’s awkward. There’s not much to being 19, at least in my opinion. So, I interviewed some friends on their thoughts on being this precarious age. The response was varied.
“It’s like being 18, but plus one.”
“I’m feeling like I’m over my teenage angst now, but not quite with it yet”
“I’ve only been 19 for two days, but yeah you can live your life, no casino’s though.”
“I remember being your age. Pretty sure that was my peak, definitely downhill since then. Good luck.”
“It’s kinda between those two taylor swift songs, 15 and 22.”
“Being worried about turning 20 and in your 20’s things are meant to happen. But also, it’s when I fucked up the most. Like my liver suffered. I had sex with a guy in a bush on Motutapu island, and then vomited twice straight after. The most scandalous thing I did at 19. 2 months later I realised I was quite gay.”
“It’s weird cuz you don’t feel as meek as a first-year student but like, yeah, I don’t know. You start standing up to your parents. You take less bullshit. You break the age segregation of high school.”
“Mate age is but a number. Birthdays are arbitrary, everything’s just the same as it was when you were 18 except you have one year less left to live.”
“Nothings free anymore. When it says, kids get in free, I think it’s free. It sucks. It’s not free. It’s never free. I’m broke. I have to pay $40 to watch cricket now.”
“Sherry what are trying to write? Did you just have a wild weekend and think shit you need content for this week’s craccum. But I guess that’s what being 19 is. You can write about your weekend like stealing a road sign but when you’re 23 you’ve got nothing to talk about.”