Floreakeats “Classic”: Parents of new Boston-area college students, may I have a word with you parent-to-parent?

Editor’s Note: It’s August 1 and “they” will be back in a few short weeks. Thought I would recycle an old post just for “them.” Here’s a new tip. While waiting for the police and fire department to extract your U-Haul from under the new pedestrian overpass on Memorial Drive, students and their parents might enjoy reading the large sign that says “Danger. No Trucks.” or visiting our neighborhood farmer’s market.


You don’t know me, but typically I use this space to bitch about food. Inferior hot dog buns, idiots who blog about cupcakes, stuff like that.

Today, I’d like to take a moment of your time to talk to you parent-to-parent about a non-food topic.

You see, when I’m not complaining about food, I have college-aged children of my own. I am also a long-time resident of the greater Boston area. And I understand that you are super-pumped that your child is attending  a prestigious Boston-area college (or alternately, Boston University). And I know you have a lot on your mind as you prepare to drive your child to Boston next week.

It’s so exciting. It feels like no one else in the world has ever been through this before.

But in reality, 250,000 other parents and students exactly like you are about to descend upon my home like rats on a fresh carcass.

For my basic survival, and yours, I’d like to offer you a few tips — parent-to-parent:

1. Yes, there certainly IS a lot of traffic here. And you are preventing it from moving.

2. Right now, you are driving your Volvo station wagon/BMW/Mercedes the wrong way down a one way street in Cambridge. I can guaran-fucking-tee it.

3. Those are indeed real Black people you’re seeing right now. And, yes, some of them are speaking funny languages. Your child is perfectly safe nonetheless.

4. Under no circumstances utter the phrase “pahk ya cahhhh in hahhhvaaad yaaad” until you have returned home. You will be murdered on the spot and everyone in Harvard Yard will watch and cheer.

5. Please throw away all the clothes you were planning to wear while in Boston and buy new ones. Mom, that means those cute new capri pants with matching visor and enormous white sneakers. Dad, it means EVERYTHING you own. Your child will thank you and it will save you from being robbed and beaten.

6. If you child is attending MIT, remind them to bring plenty of shorts to wear when the temperature dips below zero.

7. If your child is attending Harvard, remind them that  cars are also allowed to use the streets in Cambridge. (Even though the cars didn’t get a 2400 on their SATs, nor did they receive a nice shiny community service award for visiting poor people in Central America, they are still actually entitled to use the roads.) Gently suggest that your little wonder try walking the sidewalk, but don’t get your hopes up. I’m not.

8. Could you try again to get your kid to understand that IN CITIES PEOPLE WALK ON SIDEWALKS AND NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET? It is really annoying. (Note: if your kid goes to BU, they are intellectually incapable of understanding complex concepts like this. But take consolation in the fact that they are attractive and well-dressed.)

9. Go home as soon as possible. It’s better for everyone that way. Especially me.

10. The honking stops approximately 2 seconds before your beating by tire iron begins. Never stop moving.

With these few simple tips, you should make it through this difficult transition period for me.

And rest assured that you will forget every one of these tips when you return again in June as you happily drive your Volvo station wagon/BMW/Mercedes the wrong way down a one way street.

We’ll be expecting you. Congratulations!


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