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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How teenagers in cars are as bad as you think. A story that will make your hair stand on end!

Well Hallelujah! Padraic finally has his driver's licence back.
You may remember he had managed to keep it for a magnificent six weeks until he was apprehended by the long arm of the law for driving with too many pimply-faced adolescents after the eleven o'clock curfew. 

Good on the cops for keeping our kids safe, I say.

It's all a bit Deja- vu-ish as I've been through all this before with Hagar.

Hagar was not a dishonest kid and didn’t get into too much strife at school. I suppose there was the incident when, at ten years of age, he did nick fifty dollars each from my ex-husband’s and my own wallet.

I guess he thought he was being non-discriminatory by pilfering an equal amount from both of us. We cracked on to it pretty quickly and after a series of meticulous bag inspections we discovered a ten dollar packet of 500 sparklers, a box of matches and the remaining ninety dollars secreted in Hagar’s backpack. 

We never determined what he was intending to do with all those sparklers. The mind boggles.

He did get suspended once in year eleven for ruining the school photograph by pulling a stupid face and wasting everyone’s money. 

That type of immature conduct pretty much sums up Hagar’s world view at seventeen years of age. 

Fun, hedonism, self-indulgence and wait…oh yeah, fun. 

The Journal of Neuroscience reported recently that studies of adolescent brains reveal a far greater frenzy of stimulation in brain- cell activity during reward-driven tasks than in adult brains. 
The author goes on to say that this extreme difference in brain activity could possibly explain why teenagers are more prone to rash, risk-taking behaviour and that annoying element of disorganisation they habitually display. 

Considering Hagar's dubious past history I was exceptionally nervous about him attending Schoolies.

Hagar was still on his Learner’s Licence at that stage so at least he wouldn’t be driving at all, however, he wanted to drive down to Airlie Beach with his mate Harley who was on his P Plates. 
This was never going to eventuate as far as I was concerned. 

Too many kids die on our roads and I didn’t want my son and his mates to contribute to the statistics. Harley’s dad was of the same opinion and he offered to drive the boys down, check them in to their accommodation, make sure they registered and pick them up in a week’s time. 

This was a seamless plan as none of the boys would have access to a car and we parents would be safe in the knowledge that the boys weren’t hooning around, intoxicated by alcohol or whatever else might be on offer down there. 

Hagar solemnly vowed on his mother’s life (me, Pinky); to keep his mobile phone with him at all times, to stay in contact and to be responsible. 

I optimistically watched him wave goodbye from the back seat of Harley’s dad’s truck. 

That was the last I heard from him for the week.

Sometimes you just have to trust that they can look after themselves. Every night I would block out images of the horror scenarios creeping into my mind in order to get a smidgeon of shut-eye. 

It was a feeling of liberating relief when I saw him sitting in the lounge-room watching television at the end of the week after he’d been dropped home. 

“Hagar! You’re home! Thank God! How was it? Was it great?”

He shrugged dejectedly, “It was alright.” 

“Just alright?” This was not the reaction I’d anticipated. Maybe he was tired or a bit let down after all the build-up  now that it was over.

I wandered into the kitchen to put the groceries away. Hagar sheepishly followed me.

“Mum, something bad happened at Schoolies.”

A shiver ran down my spine. 
“What? What happened?” Oh crap, I thought, what has he done this time?

“I lost my licence.”

“What do you mean you lost your licence? You don’t have a bloody licence!”

But no, that was not correct. He had a learner’s licence, which he had, indeed, lost and I don’t mean in the misplaced, mislaid sense.

He’d been sitting around drinking with a mate and they’d both decided it would be a good idea to ‘borrow’ another mate’s car keys and car and drive into town to buy some McDonalds. 

Down the main street of Airlie Beach at the highpoint of Schoolies’ week, drove my idiot son, cruising past the police station into the arms of a law man.

It just never occurred to me that he could lose a licence he didn’t have.