Monday, 31 August 2009

When is a Teenager a Responsible Adult??!

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On our return from holidays last week, leaving the Ferry Terminal in Ijmuiden, Amsterdam, ready to embark upon the Ferry, Grizz was stopped by Customs Officers...

He was pulling behind him our biggest case and a full backpack, and I was hanging on for grim life to our passports and boarding passes and my handbag/purse, like the Organised Mom that I am!

He was bringing up the rear, and my Husband (towing our second case and his backpack) and I were through the doors, practically climbing the gangplank, when Grizz was hauled up and summonsed to open the big case...

I retreated back through the doors, papers in hand, to wait the outcome... GJ was with me.

'Oh, no!' cried the Customs Men - 'On you go!', and they waived us forwards as if we did not matter...

We followed their orders and moved onwards, up the gangplank, prepared to wait patiently for Grizz on board...

He joined us, eventually - His long, lanky frame hoving into view; His face looking flushed and his expression a little terrifed... His wide eyes were seeking out for us, scared, defiant...

We got the whole story once we had arrived at our cabin.

"They opened the case. I said I didn't envy them trying to close it again! (He had seen GJ and I practically sitting on the case to close it in our hotel room in Hoofddorp!)

They said, frighteningly, "Oh no! You will be the one who has to close it! Have you any weapons, any guns, any drugs, any alcohol?"

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"No." said Grizz, totally honestly...

"Where is your passport, your papers?!"

"My parents have them."

"Why do your parents have them? These are your personal documents! Your responsibility!"

"Well, my mum has them all with her in her bag, and you waved them onto the ship!"

"Do you have any drugs, alcohol, guns?"

"No - You can see that. Well, that's my mum's bottle of wine that she couldn't open in the hotel because she didn't have a corkscrew, that's it".

"How old are you, 18?"

"No, I'm 17..."

"Allright, okay then. You can go. Go join your parents..."

A swift turnaround, a volte-face, when they realised that our Grizz - Almost six feet and a half of him - Easily passing for 19 or 20, is only 17. Not 18, not 21 - He was travelling with his parents, and his parents were taking care of all the documentation for him, as they've done all of his life.

Isn't that what families do, mes bloggy loves?!

Look out for one another, carry the load, take the papers, answer the questions...

We chose to find the humour in this situation... They'd chosen to open the suitcase I had actually filled with the smelliest socks and underpants - Laundry awaiting sanitization and likely disposal - They had looked pretty shocked by it, admittedly!

But when does a Teenager, a young man, become a reasonable target for gun-toting Customs Officials?

...Why is it always assumed that 'they're all up to no good?' That they're carrying drugs, or even weapons?

That's just not true, is it? And it isn't even fair...

As I see it, this media demonization of Teens has to STOP!

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  1. I totally remember being as shocked as you when they asked my five year old to remove his sandals! Really? A five year old?

    He now looks old enough to be mistaken for someone older; and I can totally see this happening to him.

  2. Gigi, I know what you mean - That's terrible to happen to your five year old! It seems that the time for childhood innocence is getting shorter and shorter these days. I'm sad to reflect that... Lovely to see you x

  3. Not a good end to what seems to have been a great holiday. As to the question, I have no answer, sorry.

  4. Serves them right to find smelly socks.