Back in February when we in the Northeast were bundled under fleece blankets and drinking our hot chocolate, Michelle KP was basking in the warmth of Los Angeles and lamenting about the traffic that came hand in hand with awards season. Understandable as I have heard that traffic in LA is legendary. In fact, I would imagine that every city has events that snarl traffic up for miles and cause general aggravation. A. grew up in the D.C. area and still complains about the traffic around any sort of inauguration. My dad once got stuck at work while they filmed the ending of “Romancing the Stone.”
In Boston, we have to contend with baseball season (I try to tell newbie Bostonians to avoid the green line during the Sox home games unless they have a strong desire to never actually get home), and of course the Boston marathon, during which, unless you enjoy the sport of motoring over a runner or two, most people stay at home getting drunk and eating various bbq’d delicacies.
But, in addition to the Sox, the spring brings another traffic landmine – commencement season. While LA has its star-studded awards shows, Boston is known for its bajillion institutions of higher education. With that comes the dreaded side effect of commencements with their pomp, circumstance, fancy speakers, and a million people stopping in the middle of the streets to take pictures of their loved ones decked out in various robe paraphernalia.
It gets so bad, the local news lets you know ahead of time to avoid areas with their handy commencement listing. It also lets you know who the commencement speaker is – helpful if you want to hedge your bets as the higher profile the speaker is, the more likely security will be tight. (True fact: a few years ago, a certain dignitary spoke at my alma mater. Because she was so high profile, there were snipers hanging out on the library rooftop.) Between slow moving tourists, constant picture-taking, proud parents and other assorted relatives walking s-l-o-w-l-y around town (and taking the best seats in restaurants to celebrate), as well as the barrage of U-Haul trucks moving even slower, Boston is a mess of traffic and confusion. I try to keep my patience in check, too, while someone makes a joke about “pahking their cah.”
So, the best advice to to open up a book, sit tight, and wait for the moving trucks to leave the premises. And try not to run over a newly minted graduate – chances are they have loans to pay off and will happily sue.