The power of "How Cool is Your School" brings out the monsters in my teen passengers

All I know is that Heart 104.9's Breakfast show with their "How cool is your school" competition is causing havoc in my car in the morning.

You see, I have three - yes, THREE teenagers - triple the hormonal double-decker rollercoaster moodswings - hitching a ride to school.  And most times, we listen to the Heart 104.9 breakfast show and enjoy the antics happening in the studio somewhere in Green Point. I have long given up on wanting to slaughter  the traffic reporter, for drawling that drivers must be "extra-cautious" because of some calamity on the road. Why extra cautious, why not just 'careful'. But I digress... at least this is better than listening to 5 FM for two beats of a song, or to Good Hope FM for a heartbeat of an announcement as the whims of my daughter, Sasha dictate.

Let's get on with the story then. At the back we have Reagan and Riko, my nephews, who would normally be quite content to make small talk in between playing a soccer game on the IPad. But this has all changed since the "How cool is your school" competition, sponsored by BMW, started on Heart 104.9. Usually, we hit the bridge by the time Aden announces that it is time to test how cool a teacher is. Most times the teacher's score is "not too shabby" or the teacher has "bragging rights for the day". Even when Aden was on leave or somewhere else, Tafuma happily carried on with "not too shabby" or the like, at times a real mini me.

Shoo... again a digression. Back to the backseat of my car. So there we are, driving and listening to a rather sombre teacher who only scored 4 points on a Monday morning. Then Aden pops the standard question to the teacher about what exciting things are happening at her school which I think, is in Milnerton..

 " Well, she says, we will be having our valedictory for our grade sevens soon"...

Goodness me, that is the trigger to set off a volley of valedictory traumas unearthed in the passengers who were content to test their own general knowledge a minute or two ago in the most boisterous fashion.

"We didn't even have a proper valedictory", clucked Reagan. They just gave us a  breakfast and a pen that broke soon after." Wasn't even fun, he continued, with the words struggling to emerge from pursed, twisted lips.

" Oh no, I say", melodramatically, " how traumatic man, Reagan, " and what did they serve, oats or mielie meal?"

Reagan didn't respond to my question because he was ready to launch his tornado.

 Riko, the real tease, filled the gap and said: " We also had a breakfast, but we got a pen AND a clutch pencil", with such relish, that Sasha and I cracked up. There was now a war pending at the back and we were at least seven minutes away from the school - a lifetime in teenage mood-control time zones.

"And," continued Reagan, "they didn't even take us on tour like the other groups. They said something about children not paying, but I think they just lied. Oooh... "they" sounded like a swear word, so Huckleberry Finnish...

( Chorus line by Riko"we went on tour and I rode on an ostrich," but Reagan is on a roll now and just merrily continues.)

They didn't want to go," Reagan uttered, spitting out "the 'they' - (probably the 'uncool', lying teachers).
" And then this year, they did the same when we went on the Sports tour. We wanted to go to the beach over the mountain and then the bus was struggling to go over the mountain. So we saw the teacher talking to the bus driver and then we turned back. We just had to go over the hill then we would have been at the beach. I hate that teacher."

"Aaah," says Riko, he teaches me... and  he will probably be teaching you too" AND many other things that will remain between the enclosed private space of THE CAR)

Before we knew it, I had pulled up at the school and my three passengers tumbled out with their school bags, tog bags and water bottles. They shouted a joyful, "Bye" to me and all seemed to be forgotten and forgiven.

I hope that the next teacher who is on "How cool is your school" doesn't offer another launch pad for more post-traumatic outpourings from the familia in my car in the weeks to come...

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