Two things happened recently which gave me pause for thought. The Vampire Diaries returned for a fourth season and I heard Christmas music on the radio. Christmas means the holidays are approaching and my home will once again be under siege from pernicious, home grown bloodsuckers – aka teenagers.
Teenagers are basically vampires. During their vacations they sleep all day and emerge at night to prey on my wallet and food supply. They terrorise homeowners (parents) with incessant demands for money, possessions, and vehicular access. Their grip on our emotions – and finances – is vice-like; those of us unlucky enough to fall prey to these creatures are unable to shake them. I am currently harbouring three within my walls and they show no intention of leaving.
Like vampires, teenagers have to be invited in. Foolishly, we innocently welcome these creatures into our homes in their infancy; unaware of the impending danger – and poverty – we are unwittingly bringing upon ourselves.
Vampires are clever. They woo us with their childish antics and playful innocence, all the while biding their time until the transformation take place. What transformation you ask? This is the night when your loving affectionate child goes to bed aged 12 and wakes up aged 13 sullen, moody and blaming you for ruining his/her life. You would think with all the advances in Genetic Modification somebody somewhere would have figured out how to create a teenager without raging hormones.
Once a vampire has claimed your home as his/her lair you, the homeowner, have few options. Forget about garlic, crosses, and holy water. You cannot abandon or forsake your bloodsucker. Apparently that is illegal in most countries for reasons I do not fully understand. You are bound by blood to the creature and if you are not careful you will succumb to a serious case of anaemia. I heard of a place called boarding school you can send the vampire to at 13 and have it returned to you at 18, semi-matured and ready for university/ workplace. Tried that. Mine got expelled.
During non-vacation periods vampires hide among us masquerading as school kids. Some of them have adapted well to daylight and can often be found clustered together at shopping malls and popular liming spots. Most vampires however, shun the light, preferring to spend endless hours in their bedrooms attached to laptops, iPads and smart phones.
The male vampire is particularly dangerous. This creature has hollow legs and the capacity to decimate the contents of a refrigerator or larder cupboard within a matter of hours. My advice? Buy a lockable fridge. Male bloodsuckers have another unique talent – they are experts in attracting mayhem, chaos and exorbitant bills which inevitably accompany their…ahem…”adventures”. (See my views on the MOB – Blog post March 14, 2012.)
Selfish and narcissistic in nature, the vampire is the centre of his/her universe. Our only value as victim/parent is to provide a constant source of food, finance and transport. Unlike the creatures of legend, these vampires are unable to fly and need their parents to take them everywhere. Inevitably, this means your life is on hold until the creature is old enough to travel unaccompanied and/or compel a Transport Official to give them a driving licence (paid for by you of course, lessons as well) - and trick you into handing over keys to a vehicle.
But the situation is not completely hopeless. Some parents gain relief when the vampire leaves home to attend university. But here’s the kicker – you have to pay to send and keep them away – and they return at regular intervals to resume their bloodsucking habit.
Some teenagers chose to jump right into the workplace and forgo the university route. Their parents rejoice but the elation is usually short-lived because even though gainfully employed, the vampire often chooses to live at home and continue parental debilitation.
Given the pernicious, selfish and ungrateful nature of these creatures why oh why do we continue to harbour them? Because we stubbornly believe that one day our little vampire will be saved and miraculously transformed into a mature self-sufficient adult capable of making a meaningful contribution to society. Why are we kidding ourselves? All we are doing is perpetuating the cycle so that our monsters can make monsters of their own. I understand now why grandkids are called the grandparents’ revenge.
In the meantime I continue to nurture my home grown bloodsuckers in the hope that one day I shall find salvation. Pray for me.