Sweet night of parental freedom reveals real inequality

So we’re in Glasgow.

It’s Saturday night but we’re in TGI Friday’s having finished our meal.

We’re in high spirits - magnaminously overlooking the fact that our young student waitress has botched our entire order.

“That could be one of our daughters one day,” the Mother Superior observes as she leaves a generous tip.

I consider our next move.

“So then Mary Hen, let’s just go to one more pub then back to the hotel,” I suggest.

“Yes,” she agrees; starting to yawn.

“But just one drink and then that’s it.”

Three hours later, the clock is striking 1am. I’m blessing people as I walk off stage.

Shamefully, I have succumbed to the karaoke and the Mother Superior has ‘raved’ to 2 Unlimited.

This is uncharacteristic for both of us but it’s been a memorable Saturday night in Glasgow.

As the pub house lights go up, cold sobriety is kicking in.

“What are we doing here?” asks the Mother Superior, grabbing her coat.

“This isn’t us. We’re supposed to be responsible parents.”

“You’re right,” I say. “But we don’t have to be up tomorrow with the kids so let’s go to another club!”

Wisely, the Mother Superior steers me back in the direction of our hotel.

As we head along the cold city streets, it dawns on me that we’re now officially middle-aged.

This is what can happen when Mum and Dad escape the shackles of parental responsibility for one sweet night of freedom.

This is what happens when you haven’t been out with each other together as a couple for 18 months.

A year and half of weekends are crammed into one epic night of indulgence.

We stroll along the Style Mile – a twinkling mile of fashionable shops.

Gucci sell handbags here for over £1,000 as broken beggars sit outside pleading for pennies.

This is how the world is divided now – the Can and Can’t Shops.

I’m no Bob Geldof but is this how things were supposed to be in 2013?

Approaching us furtively is a young man with red blotchy skin in an old tracksuit holding a paper cup.

"Can ye help us mate?” he asks. “I’ve split up wi ma missus and need 85p to get back to Motherwell.”

It’s probably a well-spun story but I hand over some change and he walks off with a genuine ‘Cheerio’.

Whether he caught the mythical last bus to Motherwell or chased a dragon up a back alley, it’s none of my business.

You have to help the ones worse off than you, don’t you?

Isn’t that in the small print of being human? Especially at Christmas.

Because the moment we stop giving, then we might as well just hand humanity over to the dogs.

So, all the best to you and yours for a Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

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