TWINS-would our TWO PERFECTS have inherited this MADNESS?
Sep 19, 2000 (Updated Oct 8, 2000)
Talk about stressful teenage years. Well I can tell you there is really only one, and that is their fifteenth. And oh, does it take the cake! See, at the end of that year they will be eligible, I stress by virtue of age only, to get their drivers license. Please make your own adjustments depending on your nation/states rules.
All throughout year fifteen, I don’t recall our twins, Perfect One and Perfect Two talking about anything else. I still shudder four years on thinking about it! If I had known then what I know now I would have more than shuddered. But the law is the law, and in Australia all road rules are exactly the same nationwide, which incidentally is a relatively recent phenomenon after many decades of variation designed to catch out the poor unsuspecting interstate tourist!
Perfect Two, our son, was the most vehement that he was going to have his licence within five minutes of turning sixteen. Perfect One, daughter was a little unsure.
We discussed the issue with them at great length, saying the usual; there is no hurry, you can't afford your own car, and all that which, to a fifteen year old, is totally meaningless stuff. So Dad gets a bright idea - nothing unusual about that, of course, but often dangerous.
Now I don’t know what the most popular cars stateside are, but here in Ozz its the Ford Falcon and the Holden Commodore, both made here and exported to many countries but I don’t think the good ol USA. I guess you've got enough cars up there. Both are pretty big, comfy five seaters easily capable of around one hundred and forty miles per hour in ordinary, standard trim. Bloody ridiculous really.
Thinking back to my own experiences at the age of sixteen, such as driving blind drunk up a railway line, sideswiping a bank, trying to drive as close as possible to the concrete crash barrier on a bridge until one day I got so close I hit it - and the piece de resistance - when the old man bought a near new ford v8 in about 1970 which was a mighty hot car for those times - oh what I did to and with that thing.....doesn't bear thinking about!! Stuff me Drunk, how I survived I will never know. It was with this background in mind that my terror increased each and every day of their fifteenth year.
Something had to be done. Nowadays I would have been hung, drawn and quartered for each of my misdemeanours. Not so then. I would also, if done today at the much greater speeds and greater intensity of traffic, almost certainly be dead.
Would our two Perfects have inherited this madness?
So, what to do? Then inspiration!! I took them, in the trusty family Falcon, to a large grassed area and my brilliant plan was to show them how dangerous a car could be.
I drove along steadily and then, without warning, planted the accelerator and swung the steering wheel causing the car to slide all over the place. Dead silence inside, but I must confess I absolutely loved it! So again, faster, and faster, harder and harder. I was having the time of my life, but not showing any emotion of course.
After a few minutes of this daughter Perfect One screamed to be released from the vehicle and oh hell - Perfect Two, our right royal son bloody well loved it and yelled for more. Bugger, here’s trouble.
I let Perfect One out, yes I stopped first, and decided I was going to break Perfect Two if it killed me or the car doing it. The slides were at such speed and ability a crowd had developed, unbeknown’s to me, and no matter what I did Perfect two just wanted more. The crowds reaction, after I stopped ranged from what a bewdy to you bloody idiot. Funny, differing perceptions aren't they?
Well, the horrible day arrived - their sixteenth birthday. Perfect One decided she would wait a while, but Perfect Two had already been studying for his written test and had made arrangements to sit for it that very day! What a pity he failed!
One weeks grace, but he sits again and passes. Oh Oh, now comes the interesting part. At this stage he gets to put large L plates front and rear of the car and can only drive up to fifty miles per hour and with a licensed driver at his side. Guess who that is!
Actually, he learns very fast, a bit too fast really, but within a month he is driving better than many so all I can do is agree to let him try for the practical examination.
I think this was the first time he was nervous.
And he had good reason to be. It is well known here that the best driver in the world would have immense difficulty passing their first practical exam. This was the case with Perfect Two - even though the examiner said he did nothing wrong, there was one possible, albeit unlikely situation, that she would have preferred he had driven a little slower, just a few miles per hour. Now this is of course crazy but since I knew he didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell of passing his first exam all I could do was keep sweet with this creature, ready for the next time, at least a month away - that is how its done, they are the rules, wrong or wrong as they may be.
I say wrong or wrong because as well intentioned as they are, they can cause demoralisation of a new driver and I believe that can be more harmful than allowing a fair pass on the first attempt. This was indeed what happened to Perfect two, so much so and to the examiner’s surprise, he did fail the next attempt on legitimate grounds. He had driven perfectly again for me or anyone else but was absolutely terrified getting in a car with Her Majesty. To add insult to injury, on the second occasion he was about to drive off with the examiner when they were stopped by an “Inspector of Examiners” who jumped in the back. Now he was there to watch the examiner, not the examinee, but Perfect Two thought he was getting special attention for failing the first time. We must recognise, however, that since his examiner was being examined, she was not going to allow the slightest thing to go unnoticed. Yes, he failed again, but I did feel sorry for him that day!
He waited a good two months before he tried again, and, even to my relief he passed. Now he could drive for two years on a probationary licence, which means he didn't have to have a licensed driver with him but he had to display P plates front and rear, not exceed fifty miles per hour and have a zero blood alcohol reading. Any breach of these special conditions almost certainly has him back to the L plate stage. Fortunately this did not happen and after two years he became a "fully licensed car only driver up to two tons".
Perfect One got her licence during this period and would you believe passed both examinations on the first attempt!
Stressful? You bet your socks, but nothing to what was about to occur!!! - but it’s all in a later review.
ya all come back now, here! (how's that for Yank?)
in the meantime,please see my record breaker "AUSTRALIA - the TRUTH revealed"