It was Easter 2021 and Tarquin was off on a “roadie with the olds” like so many other New Zealand teens.
With a can of V and just enough data for a few rounds of CoD, he put his rugby-socked feet up on the back of his younger brother’s headrest, stretched riiight back and settled in for basically a chauffeured drive down State Highway 2.
By Takanini, the traffic had fair shat itself and Dad was already swearing under his breath, words which he only used at the government when Auckland had to go into lockdown.
With the people-mover reduced to a speed of 0kms per hour, Tarquin inwardly cursed all the other traffic on the road and the world in general. Why did it always rain on him? Life was very weird at the moment.
At school, he’d been learning about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and he’d started to think that maybe he himself was on that journey.
Obviously, his Call to Adventure had happened earlier that day, online. A couple of friends had told him to be somewhere with good WiFi by 1pm. Surely this car journey would get him to his destination on time? Maybe it was time to summons some Supernatural Aid.
A few deeps skulls of V did the trick, but the Threshold Guardians in the front of the car were shooting him the evils in the rear view mirror.
Once they’d reached the Bombays, Tarquin really felt he’d crossed the Threshold, not only metaphysically, but also from Auckland to the Waikato North area.
His phone was lighting up with messages from his friendship base, fair heckling him and sending him crude emoji combinations, just to make this Journey even more painful and difficult.
By the Coromandel turnoff, he’d had a Revelation: maybe Mum could hotspot him; after all, none of this was his fault, this was utter bullshit, and he decided to let his parents know it in a very terse WhatsApp message.
I hate you both and I hope you crash youve (sic) ruined my life
It was Ngatea now and there was a detour; this hero’s journey was unbelievable, and he hoped to write about it one day, or for it to be turned into a movie. Munching on a round of Ngatea’s finest hot chips and slugging a Fanta, he’d pretty much hit the Abyss, until suddenly he felt Transformed. Maybe it was the V, maybe it was the eggplant emojis. Maybe it was the sight of the big L&P bottle at Paeroa. Either way, a deep, moist sense of calm washed over him and he closed his eyes.
It was time for Atonement, as Tarquin sent an apologetic WhatsApp to his parents:
I’m sorry for being a dik can I have a hotspot
There was no reply, but it didn’t matter. Tarquin had almost completed the Hero’s Journey, one that many had taken; Jesus, Luke Skywalker and Elon Musk.
All that was left was the Return, and soon enough his phone changed to hotspotted data, just in time for the CoD tournament he thought he would miss.
With feet back up on his little brother’s headrest and a quick warning telling him to stop crying, he nestled in for some serious gaming. Mt Maunganui was now in the distance and he laughed loudly at the suggestion that he could climb it on Easter Saturday.