So Karin asked me to write a guest post based on my experience at the disco dance at Trey and Laurel’s school. This is quite a daunting task for me since she’s pretty damn good at this blogging stuff and I, sadly, am an engineer at heart and very bad at both writing and spelling. That said, I’ll do my best.
Most of you that know me know that I am not really in to stuff like this especially if it is related in some fashion to a disco dance. I didn’t particularly like the 70s disco movement the first time around and really didn’t want to be stuck reliving it for a few hours on a Friday night in New Zealand of all places. In the end, there were two things that piqued my interest.
1. I got the coveted position of security guard which is way cooler than parent chaperone as I would be called in the U.S.
2. In our instructions for the evening, I was told to bring my torch.
Needless to say the prospect of lighting up my giant torch and heading off to smack the heads of some unruly malcontents was just about more than I could handle.
Well I quickly found out that a torch is just their name for a plain old flashlight and the job as “security guard” didn’t involve any guns, nightsticks, hand-cuffs or tasers. (don’t tase me mate!). It basically involved standing around in the wind and rain drinking Sprite (or something that sort of tasted like Sprite) with a few other dads chatting.
We were called into action twice that evening. Once to chase away a group of Year 9 girls that were trying to get into the disco. Personally, I would have looked the other way on that one which I am sure Trey and the rest of the Year 8 boys would have appreciated but the powers that be would have none of that. The other “incident” involved a parent driving through the playground in the dark and rain and flattening a netball pole (think steel, slightly smaller basketball pole, ouch!). Very exciting stuff.
Now on to the point of the story. I was standing around listening to the other dads talk about random stuff like how one just started a Zumba class, which sounded to me like some sort of cross between salsa dancing and vacuuming. Needless to say I didn’t stand so close to him from that point forward.
The conversation eventually turned to the two dads complaining about some new law and/or rule about having to get “approval” from the parents of your kids' friends if they are over to your house when you are having a party with alcohol. This conversation sounded interesting so I decided to dive in and ask a few questions.
Q: So you have to get some kind of approval if you’re having a party?
A: Yes. Now, if you’re having a party and want to give your kid’s friends a few beers, you have to get permission first.
Hmmmm. This is getting more interesting.
Q: So before you didn’t have to get approval?
This begs another question….
Q: So, at what age would you start giving the kids some beers?
(Short pause while they look at me like it was a really stupid question.)
A: At around 12 years old we’d give them Shandies (mixture of lemonade and beer) and at 13 we’d give them a few beers if we were having a party. No hard stuff though.
Oh that’s good. No hard stuff. Don’t want them running their bikes off into a ditch or anything. So this wasn’t really adding up with some of the other “rules/laws” here.
Q: So, at 12 you would give them a few beers at a party but it’s against the law to have them stay by themselves for a few hours until they’re 14?
A: Oh god, we would never let the kids stay at home by themselves. Maybe for 15 minutes while we go for a walk but that would be it.
Keep in mind this is a place where I see 6 year olds riding their bikes to school by themselves on busy roads and 10 year olds taking the train to go downtown for a while to go to the movies. Go figure.
I’m sure there was a lesson to be learned in all of this. Maybe it was that you should never let your 14 year old (or younger) kids stay home by themselves for fear they may have more than two beers. Next time I catch up with Mr. Zumba and his friend I’ll have to ask. Cheers. D.