I didn’t ask to be born.

It’s my first night in Sardinia. I was fifteen the last time I went on holiday with my parents, and I’m regressing already.

I booked the flights online without consultation when I realized Mum and Dad can’t really use the Internet yet. We flew Ryanair, which is famous for pioneering no-frills flying in Europe-Dublin to London for six quid, and the like. But they know how to gouge you on hidden extras, so in the end all you get is an ascetic thrill and a bill the same size as British Airways. The flights from Shannon to Dublin and then Dublin to Sardinia were an hour apart�plenty of time for a connection, I thought, not knowing that Ryanair thinks connections are your problem. Weeks of family fretting were reported by my sister Caroline, until I gave in and spent an hour on the phone booking new flights.

I joined my parents at Stansted an hour and a half before takeoff, to find them panicking that we would miss the flight. This was well-founded. Stansted was a zoo. We literally sprinted to the gate to discover that our plane had not actually landed in London yet. Signs warned us that the airport staff would not tolerate drunkenness�this is England�but Dad recklessly produced miniature bottles of brandy and gin to sidestep the Ryanair bar fees.

At Alghero, late, we discovered our guesthouse had no street name, simply directions to get a taxi to the nearest village and call from the phone booth opposite the church. Which did not accept coins or credit cards. I went to the nearest cafe to buy a targetta per telefono, sounding like a drunken Kerry farmer speaking French. The impossibly handsome bartender grinned as he produced a choice of cards, and I glanced at my parents faffing around with a map and a torch outside the door. What is this strange, familiar feeling?

Ah, adolescence. Here we go again.

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