It's about 12.30am. The air is icy and the sky black, except for the stars pumping like blast furnaces in the King Country night. The illuminated crucifix of the Southern Cross tilts above the western horizon. Tomorrow promises another heavy frost where every paddock looks like Christmas. Dead stillness.
Peace reigns as it should, for these are the colder months.
Winter, season of reflection, time to hunker down. My pot-bellied stove roars on through the night, singing its tune up and down the scales.
Did I say peace? I spoke too soon.
There were warning signs at dusk, a revving engine and the thump, thump of the boom box.
It is that time when the morons rise up like ghouls from a junkyard.
Why do they do it, I ask myself.
Boy racers shattering the peace by driving round the block endlessly with no purpose in mind or consideration for anyone else.
I live on the top of a hill above the pollution line. Or at least, I thought I did.
But one cannot, as one neighbour put it to me: "stop the creeping filth".
Too many rentals available in small towns mean your neighbourhood's chances of hosting a dysfunctional family are exponentially increased.
My good neighbour told me his windows were literally shaking in their frames with the sound of the boom box from the boy racer's car late into the night. What sort of family allows their kids to freely participate in this sort of mindless activity?
It's a question beyond comprehension.
I cannot put myself into such a primitive mindset in order to understand it.
The phenomenon confounds me.
I don't get the low-level intelligence that compels male youth into such activity, not to mention waste of gas.
Where are their parents or maybe that should be better phrased - what are their parents thinking?
There must be a genetic component at work that one might call "The Addams Family Syndrome" with apologies to the Addams family for at least they amused.
This branch of the Idiot Tree belongs to the troglodytes and the gormless.
One can entertain any number of negative fantasies that result in the termination of such creatures.
But we boast a law-abiding and largely civilised society, or so we like to remind ourselves. A constant, psychological struggle against the forces of stupidity, and against the blinkered and knuckle-dragging yobs that grunt and yowl within our communities.
Boy racers' dumb-arse behaviour pretty much takes the cake as the worst of its kind. Round and round they go.
Blockheads once more round the block, back home, only to repeat the same senseless performance over and over again.
To be subjected to this relentless noise is a form of torture where one feels impotent.
It is like a living nightmare in which the Pied Piper of Hamelin blares upon his trumpet, dressed in military fatigues and full metal jacket, to herd a chain-gang of boy racers into a bunkered compound, and there subject them to water boarding torture, repeatedly, until they repent of their inane antics and vow to relinquish such idiocy under threat of even greater punishment - like being subjected to a 3D virtual computer game where they are strapped into their own high performance vehicles and then locked inside a giant crushing machine.
But aside from negative fantasies that are little more than gestures of personal impotency, what practically can be done to detour this rampant hijacking of the neighbourhood by boy racer drop kicks?
I mean, short of employing road spikes, rocket launchers, petrol bombs, and vigilante night patrols. The alternatives seem bland in comparison.
Education won't do it, because they don't know what education is, and the chances of successfully reprogramming the neurons and electrical impulses that pass for intelligence, is negligible.
An auto-electrician would have greater success rewiring these brain waves than a neurosurgeon.
The Land Transport Amendment Act 2003 provides discretionary powers to the police to impound vehicles relating to "boy racer" offences. I summarise the main points here: You must not operate a motor vehicle in a race or in an unnecessary exhibition of speed or acceleration on a road. You must not operate a motor vehicle on a road in a manner that causes the vehicle to undergo sustained loss of traction. If you commit either of these offences the maximum penalty is 3 months' imprisonment or $4500 in fines, and a minimum period of disqualification of 6 months. If you kill or injure someone while illegally racing, the penalties increase to a maximum penalty of 5 years' imprisonment, or a fine not exceeding $20,000, and a minimum period of disqualification of 1 year.
Maybe local councils can build on these regulations and pass complementary bylaws whereby boy racers who breach the conditions set down are subjected to community service, required to utilise their own vehicles at their own expense in a shuttle service, to transport the elderly, infirm, and otherwise disadvantaged back and forth to hospitals, supermarkets, and other necessary appointments, on a daily basis for a set term, according to the magnitude of the offence committed.
That should slow them up.
Stephen Oliver is the author of 16 volumes of poetry. He lived in Australia for 20 years and now resides in the King Country, and is a freelance writer and voice artist.
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