Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: What Sixteen Is

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  • JohnAmiria,

    Lost track of Table after his mother died so my mother stopped running into her in the supermarket.

    You'd hope so. Otherwise it would have been kinda spooky.

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    You'd hope so. Otherwise it would have been kinda spooky.

    Aisle 13... where the cleaners fear to tread.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    I extract the salient fact from this story, which is that a guy who'll do that for a friend isn’t going to have sex with me.

    Hmm. Maybe not the right conclusion. Mr Catfish sounds a remarkable teenager who was able to put looking after a mate ahead of hormones. Not unheard of, but still admirable.

    And it sounds as though you handled yourself pretty well too. Getting a crossbow pointed at you has to be a real brown trouser job.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    When I was at high school, I was invited to two (2) parties.

    I wanted to be out there, fucking shit up, but it was hard when I was stuck on a farm just outside of Hammo.

    No crossbows, though.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I wanted to be out there, fucking shit up, but it was hard when I was stuck on a farm just outside of Hammo.

    I believe one of my mother's consolations was that I never found myself on the methodone program, unlike my cousins who lived in Hamilton. That whole family turned out to either be addicts or missionaries.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Dinah Dunavan,

    Or addicts then missionaries. That seemed to be the order of things in my extended circle.

    Dunedin • Since Jun 2008 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Mr Catfish sounds a remarkable teenager who was able to put looking after a mate ahead of hormones. Not unheard of, but still admirable.

    The whole staunch New Zealand 'mateship' thing, for all its faults (and there are indeed many) certainly has some upsides, and wouldn't have survived as a social institution if it didn't have something to commend it.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I have 2 kids, teenagers, including a 15 going on 20 yr old daughter.

    First of all "I couldn't find a phone" has been replaced by "I forgot to charge it", probably for about the same levels of truthiness as before.

    Secondly are they constantly texting each other? of course, how else would you run out of texts on your 2000 text plan before the end of the month (alternate excuse for above).

    One of the main reasons why I moved back to NZ from the US was so that my kids could be teenagers here, maybe run a little wild, get a chance to screw up and take the consequences, but in relative safety - that guy you pick a fight with down town - probably doesn't have a gun, but he does have fists and might have a knife - knowing when to run away is an important life skill ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2620 posts Report Reply

  • ThereseM,

    Thank you, David. There's something very weird in feeling that you'll sound simultaneously hysterical AND banal.

    Never banal, Emma; and hysterical only in the sense that I laugh out loud 'cos u so funny.

    Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Reminds me of some of the stories my wife tells me about when she was sixteen. I on the other hand had a very sheltered upbringing, and find all this sort of stuff kind of jawdropping.

    I enquired about signal inhibitors for the home today, blank all cellphone signals from any given time (say 10pm on a week night).

    Seems such a thing doesn't exist.

    I'm sure signal inhibitors do exist. I remember reading about them in the UK. Some newspaper imported one (possibly from Japan...?) and had a merry old afternoon cutting people off who were using their mobe in public with no consideration for others.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Not banal in the least. The closest I ever got to anything *resembling* this sort of thing was seeing some people smoking dope on school property. From a distance.

    I'm sure signal inhibitors do exist. I remember reading about them in the UK. Some newspaper imported one (possibly from Japan...?) and had a merry old afternoon cutting people off who were using their mobe in public with no consideration for others.

    Don't they have them in prisons here, or were thinking about introducing them?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The whole staunch New Zealand 'mateship' thing, for all its faults (and there are indeed many) certainly has some upsides, and wouldn't have survived as a social institution if it didn't have something to commend it.

    Yeah, mateship intrigues me in its ambiguousness, especially as it ties into the whole gang thing. I know I was safe in some places we went because you did not fcuk (in any sense of the word) with someone else's missus.

    OTOH... I found out later that Standard Lamp had wanted to ask me out before Table did, but Table 'saw her first', so I was considered to be his. This pissed me off no end.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Mateship, in that sense of pure loyalty that transcends the law and heterosexual ties, goes back to Sumerian epic, Gilgamesh and Enkidu. It is the stuff of epic poetry. Especially when its bonds are broken. The essence of heroic epic is when two loyalty directives conflict (eg family vengeance vs mateship, love of a woman vs mateship) such that honour cannot be satisfied.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The essence of heroic epic is when two loyalty directives conflict (eg family vengeance vs mateship, love of a woman vs mateship) such that honour cannot be satisfied.

    Bravo, Stephen. Would you like an MA with that?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Mateship, in that sense of pure loyalty that transcends the law and heterosexual ties, goes back to Sumerian epic, Gilgamesh and Enkidu. It is the stuff of epic poetry.

    Yeah... but wouldn't suggest any mate work out their frustrations the way Achillies did in The Illiad-- desecrating the corpse of Hector by dragging it behind his chariot, around the walls of Troy, for nine days.

    In Alexander Pope's translation:

    Then his fell soul a thought of vengeance bred;
    (Unworthy of himself, and of the dead;)
    The nervous ancles bored, his feet he bound
    With thongs inserted through the double wound;
    These fix’d up high behind the rolling wain,
    His graceful head was trail’d along the plain.
    Proud on his car the insulting victor stood,
    And bore aloft his arms, distilling blood.
    He smites the steeds; the rapid chariot flies;
    The sudden clouds of circling dust arise.
    Now lost is all that formidable air;
    The face divine, and long-descending hair,
    Purple the ground, and streak the sable sand;
    Deform’d, dishonour’d, in his native land,
    Given to the rage of an insulting throng,
    And, in his parents’ sight, now dragg’d along!

    The mother first beheld with sad survey;
    She rent her tresses, venerable grey,
    And cast, far off, the regal veils away.
    With piercing shrieks his bitter fate she moans,
    While the sad father answers groans with groans
    Tears after tears his mournful cheeks o’erflow,
    And the whole city wears one face of woe:
    No less than if the rage of hostile fires.
    From her foundations curling to her spires,
    O’er the proud citadel at length should rise,
    And the last blaze send Ilion to the skies.
    The wretched monarch of the falling state,
    Distracted, presses to the Dardan gate.
    Scarce the whole people stop his desperate course,
    While strong affliction gives the feeble force:
    Grief tears his heart, and drives him to and fro,
    In all the raging impotence of woe.
    At length he roll’d in dust, and thus begun,
    Imploring all, and naming one by one:
    “Ah! let me, let me go where sorrow calls;
    I, only I, will issue from your walls
    (Guide or companion, friends! I ask ye none),
    And bow before the murderer of my son.
    My grief perhaps his pity may engage;
    Perhaps at least he may respect my age.
    He has a father too; a man like me;
    One, not exempt from age and misery
    (Vigorous no more, as when his young embrace
    Begot this pest of me, and all my race).
    How many valiant sons, in early bloom,
    Has that cursed hand send headlong to the tomb!
    Thee, Hector! last: thy loss (divinely brave)
    Sinks my sad soul with sorrow to the grave.
    O had thy gentle spirit pass’d in peace,
    The son expiring in the sire’s embrace,
    While both thy parents wept the fatal hour,
    And, bending o’er thee, mix’d the tender shower!
    Some comfort that had been, some sad relief,
    To melt in full satiety of grief!”

    Thus wail’d the father, grovelling on the ground,
    And all the eyes of Ilion stream’d around.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I enquired about signal inhibitors for the home today, blank all cellphone signals from any given time (say 10pm on a week night).

    Seems such a thing doesn't exist.

    They do exist, they just aren't legal. Its against the rules to interfere with a lawfully transmitted radio signal.

    The movie theatre people have been trying to get them allowed (for obvious reasons) but, because they have an area effect which is tricky to confine to a room, they aren't allowed in case the person who has a heart attack in the shop next door can't call the ambulance.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I spent my teen years here in Hammo, going to quite a few of those parties Robyn didn't make it to (although not as many as I would have liked at the time). Quite a few of the guys at those parties could quite easily fit into the role of Table or Standard Lamp. Some have grown up to be productive members of society, others, not so much.
    These people are some of the reasons that make me wonder why Outrageous Fortune didn't win an award for Best Reality Programming. From where I stand, its more like reality than Mitre 10 Dream home (and I had a walk on role in one series of that).

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Would you like an MA with that?

    I owe it all to Henry Root's World Of Knowledge.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    stuck on a farm

    Woolshed parties rocked. Blue Monday amidst the smell of lanolin and the awkward circling o th rural teens. Aaah.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Emma, I ache for the 16 year old you. I knew that you would have some tales to tell and I had some idea that they would be fairly hairy, but no young woman should have to go through having a crossbow pointed at her head - and then you say you went through worse. You say

    This is sixteen to me. When people talk about teenagers as if they're children this is what I think about.

    I talk about teenagers as children because that is what they are, essentially, to me. That some of those children, like you, live through horrendous scenarios, makes them no less children. No child should ever have a life where this shit happens to them, and no child should ever be put in a position where they are forced to make decisions that essentially are adult ones. There are a lot of teenagers who live independently of their families either because they choose to, or because they have to. I accept that. I just wish that they didn't have to. That you hadn' t had to.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    There are a lot of teenagers who live independently of their families either because they choose to, or because they have to. I accept that. I just wish that they didn't have to. That you hadn' t had to.

    I don't know, though, if thinking of those teenagers who are living independently as children - with all the connotations thereto - is always helpful. They're not mature adults, certainly, but neither are most people in their early twenties. Which isn't to say it's not right to feel bad if they're in crappy circumstances, but I think whether someone is a child or not is *highly* dependent on their individual circumstances, especially once they hit their very late teens.

    People are often as adult as you treat them, basically. I was still a kid in most ways when I left for uni, despite being legally an adult. I know people who *still* act like children, even though they're in their twenties. I know people who were adults well before they came to university. These things are highly relative.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Jacky, it sounds to me that Emma got herself into the situation by her own means, it was her choice
    She also got herself out of the same situation with the same skills
    As I said further back it makes me glad I had boys as it seems to me that they are mostly more risk averse in their early teanage years

    There is a tendency to keep our children young for longer and longer,for example they often don't get real jobs until their mid 20s
    In Europe this is getting more extreme than that
    On the other hand my parents cohort started work in their early teans whilst one of my early ancestors left home at 6!! To pack cod on a ship in the Iceland seas. I might add he made his fortune and we have all been riding on the money (well seed money) ever since

    Oh and Emma I like your style and in aswer to your question my boys at 16 were into neither girls or crossbows, they left that sort of thing for later in their lives ie when they left home

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    On the other hand my parents cohort started work in their early teans whilst one of my early ancestors left home at 6!! To pack cod on a ship in the Iceland seas.

    I am so going to use that line with my just-turned-seven-years-old son next time he misbehaves. (It'll replace my usual "I'm calling Sue Bradford!").

    Healthy reminder that being a child in times past was a rather more serious business than it is now, P or no P, I'd venture to say crossbows or no crossbows. My mum got caught in German crossfire on the village square - beath that with a stick.

    What 16 is to me is this photo of my gran, circa 1920. Pregnant, soon to be married, soon to become the servant of her mother in law. You wouldn't call that a 'child' or a 'girl', would you?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Thom James,

    Um, thanks for sharing.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2007 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    this photo of my gran, circa 1920.

    She's gorgeous, Giovanni. My Danish grandmother got sent out here in early 1900s to marry grandfather - older friend of father - after she blotted her copybook back home, she must have been quite young, 20 tops. She knew no-one in nz at all - talk about exile.

    And Victorian kids worked legally at eight.

    My teen sons (15 and 18) - I figured I had until about 15 to influence them with my values etc. I don't have a cellphone so I don't txt (hate them) - I just pretend it's the 70s and if older son needs to get in touch he will - there's still landlines, after all. I ask him what he gets up to, knowing full well i get brief & edited accounts,(altho I know a few things I wouldn't have told my own mum) but I figure they can't be independent unless you let them. Glad we don't live in a city, tho.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

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