Editor’s Note: Gather ’round. It’s time for the annual retelling of the story that signals the return of fall. It has been updated with an all new complaints! On a related topic, screw you fall.
You don’t know me, but typically I use this space to bitch about food, inferior hot dog buns, food bloggers, cupcakes, stuff like that.
Today, I’d like to take a moment 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. It totally makes that $500,000 “donation” to the crew team worth it.
But in reality, 350,000 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. Or, that really great free parking spot you just found is what we like to call a “bike lane.”
3. 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.
4. 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 pink sneakers. Dad, it means EVERYTHING you own. Your child will thank you and it will save you from being robbed and beaten.
5. If you child is attending MIT, remind them to bring plenty of shorts to wear when the temperature dips below zero.
6. 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.
7. 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.)
8. It would have been super awesome if you had taught your child what to do in a grocery store. Since you didn’t, they will spend the next 4 years blocking the aisles at Trader Joes with 6 of their suite mates looking confused and sad, and preventing me from buying half and half. Thanks again.
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.
Please keep these few simple tips in mind. They are designed to help me make it through this difficult transition period.
And rest assured that you will forget every one of them when you return again in June and happily drive your Volvo station wagon/BMW/Mercedes the wrong way down a one way street.
We’ll be expecting you.
*My children are no longer college aged, but my complaints are still the same.
**Save your outrage. I am a BU alum.