Hard wired

Posted October 5th, 2009 by Penny Wise

It’s school holidays and all the boys are broke. Alex has recently become the proud owner of two very expensive acquisitions - a car and a girlfriend. The latter being expensive because she lives an hour away, hence he has to do a lot of miles in his car if he wants to see her! Still, he's happy and pleased as punch with his new wheels. We were wondering what on earth he had brought home when he excitedly announced it has a built-in TV screen and DVD player which pops up from the dashboard! I was picturing something frighteningly low to the ground with a spoiler and flames painted up the sides. Knowing how much in-car DVD players can cost I was also picturing a $1500 pop-up TV and about $300 worth of car. However to his credit, he did an excellent job and seems to have got himself a sound bargain, not to mention a nice, sensible looking car. Not that I would tell him that of course - what self respecting 17-year-old wants to be told they have a 'sensible' car?! There was just one problem as far as Alex was concerned - the stereo wasn't loud enough but a few minutes on Trade Me soon fixed that. Now we can hear him coming down the road 500 metres away, thanks to the 30kg boom speakers which have flashing green neon lights and take up almost the entire boot!

The moths have also flown out of Liam's wallet. Big time. We had been telling the poor kids for so long that they had to save their money for Australia that once everything fell through, they felt quite justified in having a bit of a splurge and they knew exactly what they wanted to spend it on - skateboarding gear. Ali has been into skating for a while now but Liam has only just got into 'the scene' and, as with everything Liam takes a shine to, it has become an all-consuming obsession. Which is rather inconvenient because where we live is surrounded by gravel and there is nowhere to skate for miles. Still, who cares about that small obstacle when you're 13 and have parents with cars and a skate ramp in town? His dad tried to talk to him about the impracticalities of the situation but Liam didn't care. He wanted a skateboard so he could meet his friends and hang out together in town and he wasn't going to be happy until he got one.

In the end even Noel gave up trying to talk him out of it and when I was having one of my rough days last week when I couldn't get out of bed, he kindly offered to take the boys to the city for the day so they could finally get their longed-for skate gear. Although he couldn't see what all the fuss was about - when Noel was a boy he made his own skateboard and couldn't understand why our kids couldn't do the same. Taking the boys shopping for skate gear was an extremely generous move for Noel as he is really not a fan of the modern skating culture and the whole 'hanging out in town' thing. I was anticipating a few fireworks on the trip and gently reminded him as they left to be nice, try and keep his opinions and beliefs to himself and let the boys buy what they wanted with their own money.

Within reason. Several hours later I could take no more and rang Noel to see how things were going. 'Pretty good', he said chuckling. 'We're in the middle of the skate shop, Liam is now broke. In fact, I think he's in shock that he's spent so much money'. 'But he's saved heaps! What do you mean he's broke? How much did he spend?' I asked. 'Oh, about $350', came the casual reply. 'WHAT?! You've got to be kidding! He spent that much on a SKATEBOARD?! Jeez, even I would have never let him spend that much in a million years and you reckon I'M the soft one!' 'Well I don't know anything about all this skateboarding stuff, I just let them get on with it!' came the reply. I could not believe it. I don't think Liam could either. It didn't seem too bad at the time he said. The actual skate deck that you stand on was only $150, which was about what I was expecting. But that was just the deck. The 'trucks' - the metal bits which hold the wheels, were another $100. The wheels and bearings to go on the trucks were another $80 and by the time the store assistant had put the grip tape on the deck (the sandy stuff to stop you slipping off), there was $350 gone just like that. Liam had made the mistake of not adding up how much he was spending as he went along and by the time the total was rung up on the till it was a fait accompli.

I couldn't believe it, I just couldn't believe it! There was no point berating him when he arrived home, it was too late. Alex was horrified when he heard and gave Liam heaps, reeling off all the different things he should and shouldn't have done which would have saved him a small fortune. Liam smiled sheepishly and said he didn't care 'cos his skateboard was so cool but you could see on his face that he felt a bit of a plonker. Still, what's done is done. Liam got his wish and spends many happy hours skating with his friends, all of whom think his gold plated skateboard is the bees knees. Talking of knees, I'll be glad when he gets a bit more proficient, I swear we must be going through a box of plasters a week!

I've been listening to a lot of Lily Allen's music lately and I had to chuckle to myself the other day when listening to one of my favourites called 'The Fear'. Lily sang 'I am a weapon of massive consumption, but it's not my fault, it's how I'm programmed to function'. It reminded me to sit down and finally watch something I had recorded ages ago and was only aware of thanks to the ever-savvy Forum members, called

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