…the one where my girlfriend was peeing in the bushes and the cops showed up.

Some memories of high school still make me roar with laughter.

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Picture this: Alice Springs, a small outback town in the middle of the desert, nineteen eighty something.

When there isn’t a lot to do in a dust bowl of a town like the one we were fortunate to grow up in, you make your own fun. And this night it happened to be in the form of ‘cruising around.’ Where hapless teenagers would drive from the Truck Stop to the Golf Course, to the Speedway or Drive-In on an endless loop, hooting and hollering at other kids from the same school indulging in the same activity. Aimlessly wandering the streets in a car said that we were free! To have a car was a massive status symbol… and my Mum’s Mercedes Benz was the biggest statement of all – especially filled with a four-pack of gussied-up teenage girls.

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We call it cruising around because not only did we partake in the automobile activity, but it was usually accompanied by Vodka Cruisers, Goon-bags of wine, or in our case, West Coast Coolers. But before you get your fingers out to waggle at me, I was the designated driver, so no alcohol for me. If my parents had gotten a sniff of trouble, or I so much as sullied the shine of the Merc, my car privileges would be revoked until I was a hundred years old. That meant no freedom, no flaunting for boys, and nights filled with lame video marathons and grumpy parental chaperones.

As it sometimes happens when you’re driving about with a car full of four buzzed pubescent girls, someone needed to pee. Real bad. And we were ages away from the nearest facilities. Being Alice Springs, it’s just a case of pulling over on the side of the road and you can sneak into the bush to do your business – So that’s what we did.

I had to angle the cars lights off the road so my friend could see where she was walking, and while she ventured into the scrub we turned up the radio and proceeded to dance in the headlights – as you do when you’re feeling the chemical rush of half a West Coast Cooler in the middle of nowhere.

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Just as we bust a move, hear the trickle of pee splash from behind a shrub, a cop car pulls up. Great!

One of my friends freaks out, dives into the car and is desperately shoving our coolers under the seats – yes, we were drinking under the legal age. She’s a bit of a goody-two-shoes, so to say it looked like she was in the throws of a heart attack is an understatement.

I’m a little shocked and dumbfounded to see the men in blue show up in the most deserted place in Australia, one friend gyrating in the headlights, another hyperventilating inside the car, as another stumbles out of the bush yanking up her jeans. What must they think?

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They do what cops back then did – posture a little, have us line up and invade our space… no doubt trying to detect a waft of booze on our breaths. Luckily we all managed to pull it together long enough for the boys in blue to believe our story that we only pulled over for an emergency toilet stop. I didn’t know it at the time, but they had actually suspected that we’d stolen the car and were out joyriding (another activity of the local youth in this armpit of a town.)

Just as they were about to leave, headquarters radioed them back, a check on the licence plate number had yielded a result, and wouldn’t you know – my parents hadn’t paid the latest registration fee.

Needless to say the night ended with my father coming to collect us, screaming at the cops because they wouldn’t let him drive an unregistered car. But like hell he was going to leave a luxury car sitting on the side of the road waiting to be stolen. My friends were dumped home, and, like ninjas, my parents collected the car in the shadow of night while I kept a lookout for the police as we sneaked the car home.

I don’t know when they found the bottles of booze under the seat, the next time I checked, they were gone. But I didn’t get into trouble, or have my car driving privileges revoked… thankfully they were too embarrassed at having my friends and I hassled by the police for driving an unregistered car.

That’s what I call a lucky break! And that’s how we roll in country towns 😉

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dad’s car is a death trap!

Dads car is a death trap Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgA stroll down memory lane to the time when I had a brand new driver’s licence I happened to borrow my dad’s ute to take a girlfriend home… and well, the trip didn’t go as planned.

First of all – no jokes about female drivers please. I know sometimes we can be overcautious (as I can be) but gender has no weight on someone’s driving skill. I should know, my Mum was a rally car driver.

Picture this – Sicily 1949… sorry, I just caught an episode of ‘Golden Girls’ and couldn’t resist. Anyhow, the year was in the late 80’s. I had big hair, cut-off acid wash jeans, legwarmers and a hypercolour t-shirt. And I looked narly! At that time I lived in Alice Springs, a small desert town smack bang in the middle of Australia. In other words: Satan’s armpit.

My best friend and I were 16 going on 23; and after spending most of the day inside watching movies (the type you had to hire from a video store and watch on a VCR) due to an unseasonal summer shower, it was time to end our girlie hang out and get her home. I’d not long had my driver’s license and yet to buy my own car, but my parents usually let me borrow the family car. But this time it was unavailable, and the only thing free was my dad’s ute. A small maroon V8 flatbed truck. I really didn’t want to be seen driving it at that age – it was ugly.

But hey – it was a set of wheels – which meant freedom… and beggars can’t be choosers.

This thing gurgled and grumbled like a vintage airplane. We prayed no-one we knew would spot us in this bogan muscle car. So, off we ventured on the wet roads to the other side of town, taking the back streets with Bananarama blearing out of the tape deck. Yay! ‘Venus!’

It was pretty uneventful for half of the trip. I was freaking out a little, because the auto was bigger than I was used to, and smelled like stale boy and cigarette smoke. But at least it was an automatic, no embarrassing struggles trying to change gears. Given this was a column shift, the shift lever stuck out of the steering wheel column. Gah! End me now!

The only issue was that the accelerator pedal was a touch sensitive.

And a touch is all it took to send us rocketing down the street, pushing our bodies into the back of the bench seat. As if we were about to leave the atmosphere on a quick jaunt to the International Space Station.

And that’s exactly what happened after I pulled to a stop sign, seeing the roads clear, went to turn a corner… and we suddenly found ourselves in a world of blurred landscapes, teenage screams and screeching tyres.

A wet road and a monster of a truck aren’t a good mix…

Dads car is a death trap Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.gifWhat happened next was a collage of permed hair and hooped earrings flapping in the breeze as the car skidded across the road, turning one and a half times, jolting to a stop on the other side of the road facing the wrong way. And off to the side of the road a large dirt storm gutter decorated with metal star pickets.

Dads car is a death trap Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.gifThank goodness for deserted small towns. And that the car stopped at the curb. Unscratched, still rumbling like a leopard with a cold.

I swear my girlfriend needed to buy a new pair of nickers. I just about soiled myself. This whole event cemented the hatred we had for supped-up muscled cars even more. They were a death trap waiting to happen.

The weird thing was, when the car hurtled from the place I’d stopped at the intersection, we squealed. And after a momentary shriek we fell silent, mesmerised by the suburb sliding across the windshield. We stared at each other with pale faces and a look that said everything – ‘what the frig was that?’

Driving lessons from my Mum had kicked in, I’d lifted my feet from the pedals and turned into the spin without thinking… Love you Mum!!

It could have been so much worse. We could have crashed and died. I think my handling of heavy machinery is also the reason that my partner never lets my mow the lawns, or pick up an axe… it will inevitably end in some weird mishap. Like the time I was digging a hole and broke a window; or the time I was using a belt sander and knocked down the neighbour’s fence. I have a knack for setting off a chain of events to disastrous results.

Consequently, 16 year old me never told my parents of my driving incident for fear of getting my driving privileges revoked. Because at that age, driving is EVERYTHING. It elevates your status and makes you cool. And in the 80’s wasn’t everything cool?

Today – I’m a much better driver. Really. I am. Though the atrociously permed hair is gone, my bestie and I still catch up and reminisce over our teen adventures in an outback town. Oh, remind me to tell you the one about how we were pulled on the side of the road so our friend could pee in the bushes and the cops showed up… that was fun.

Till the next trip down memory lane, Happy reading and get to writing that next best seller 🙂

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.