What is clear thinking? It is not not clear thinking.
Here is an example of not-clear thinking:
A Victorian man caught driving at 185 kilometers an hour after leaving a Eucla roadhouse without paying for fuel has narrowly escaped jail. Eucla Police arrested Jason Kirk Andreasen on the Eyre Highway on Sunday and found the car he was driving was stolen and had stolen number plates. The 37-year-old yesterday pleaded guilty to two charges of bringing stolen goods into the state, one charge of stealing and a charge of reckless driving. His lawyer Antoinette Fidelle told the court her client had secured work near Carnarvon and was trying to make a fresh start in Western Australia. Magistrate Denis Temby said the offences added up to a serious set of circumstances but was prepared to give Andreasen the opportunity to make a fresh start. He sentenced Andreasen to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 15 months, and fined him $1,750 for reckless driving.
Here is a map of part of the lower portion of the state of Western Australia:
Yes, that’s the gold-mining city of Kalgoorlie upper-left, and the border with South Australia on the right.
To give you an idea of perspective, the stretch between Caiguna and Balladonia contains arguably the longest straight stretch of highway in the world – 90 miles, dead straight, dead flat, with a difference in elevation between the ends of about ninety feet. That’s dead straight, rising at the rate of about one foot every mile. That’s straight and flat.
Last time I drove this highway, gas stations were few and far between. If you left Eucla without a full tank, your next opportunity was at Mundrabilla, then Cocklebiddy, then Caiguna.
It is a 496 kilometer drive from Eucla to Balladonia, that’s about 100 kilometers between gas pumps, and nothing in between. No farms (the stations are set many miles back from the highway), no grocery stores, no schools. Nothing. Not many trees either.
So the question arises: What are you thinking when you steal gas at Eucla and decide you can make it to Carnarvon 2,247 kilometers away, without getting caught?
Or even Mundrabilla a mere 64 kilometers away? All the gas station proprietor has to do, really, is pick up the phone and wait. It’s not at all like scurrying into hiding amongst the back streets of Etobicoke, or weaving in and out of the expressways of San Diego.
You stand out, in that country, like a dunny in the desert, as they say.
A 16-year-old gunned down outside a Brampton townhouse complex was one of a few dozen “regulars” who hung around the neighborhood recreation center at all hours of the night, locals said yesterday. “*****” was shot to death outside “*****” shortly after 12:30 a.m. yesterday, just steps from the rear wall of the recreation center.
I’m told I’m old-fashioned.
I’m told that times have changed.
They sure have.
When I was sixteen years old, I had to be in bed by ten o’clock.
I spent my high-school days, and nights, lodged in a hostel near Perth, Western Australia. Rules and schedules were both strict and tight. Supper at six. Everyone studied in their assigned places from seven until nine. Light supper until nine-thirty, lights out at ten.
Unless you were in your fourth and fifth (final) year of high school, when you were both encouraged and permitted to continue private study in your personal carrel.
On vacations, at home, I was expected to be home and in my bed by ten o’clock.
And so it is true that I am old-fashioned.
I grew up differently.
I have trouble comprehending a parent who will allow a child to be out at night after ten o’clock. Supervised or not. It was not a part of my childhood experience.
I am deeply saddened by deaths of teenagers. I wish I could re-live my life from the age of fifty, or forty, let alone sixteen.
What changes I would make in my life if given the chance to be sixteen again?
What a future would lie in store for me, were I able to modify some of my decisions?
What a future would lies in store for every sixteen-year old, although, of course, when we are sixteen, very few of us see it that way.
Which is why parents need to make decisions for us.
Decisions such as being at home, in bed, by ten o’clock at night.