Pocketbike riding

I found myself in a car with four strapping 16-year-olds this afternoon, on my way to a pocketbike racing place. The 16-year-old I know best just turned 16 and wanted to have some fun with his pals. Two of the pals I have known since the whole lot of them was 3 years old and just a bit taller than my knees. They are now all taller than I am, must be something in the water.

They wanted to race these mini motorcycles that are not allowed out on the street. I ponied up for 30 minutes. They shoved helmets on and wrapped their big frames around the little machines, and off they went! After 15 minutes there was a break - their knees hurt already, but only one would actually admit to it.

The hall is horrible - cold, neon lights, smells like a gas station. One of the boys said: But I love the smell of a gas station! There are tires around the outside, in case a machine gets out of hand.

The guy doing the work refilled the gas tanks while the boss looked on, smoking (Alarm bells! Smoking strictly prohibited anywhere there is a chance of explosive fumes! What on earth are they thinking, these guys are adults???).

I took a folding chair and leaned forward, luckily, as a big steel thing came crashing down behind me. I counted the minutes until I could leave the place, hopefully in one piece and not in an ambulance. The boss asked if I didn't want to try it out. I said no - I actually got into a go-kart with most of these same guys two years ago.

Afterwards I offered a round of beer - 16 is the legal drinking age in Germany. There were 4 bar stools at the bar, and each got his stein of beer. I know that the birthday boy has been drinking a lot already, but the satisfaction on his face at finally being able to drink legally was grand. I can't bitch too much, as I know someone else rather well who drank a lot of beer while she was underage, although the age at that time was 21.

I had to stop 3 times on the hour-long ride home for them to pee.

It will be another interesting year. Already had three arguments that began with "But I'm 16 now!"....

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