We usually hear 'our nation's future' as a phrase denoting students either at graduations or by kindly faced teachers whose unions are in the middle of contract negotiations. Even as a cabbie though, I like the phrase. There's some truth to it, and it's more upbeat than the piratical, "abandon all hope, ye who enter here", many feel at the threshold of a campus.
In Boston our population of 590,000 swells by as much as an additional 250,000 when college and university students are counted, making them a vital aspect of our city's scene. Cabbies are required to take into account the student calender, as much for the rush of graduations through May, as well as for altering neighborhoods worth cruising afterward - as certain streets go from carnival to staid and stately in as little as twelve hours.
This month has seen days when our streets have become filled with middle aged couples in Buicks and Volvos, beaming beatific expressions undimmed no matter how lost or confused they may be, feeling they've done what they could to give their kids a chance in this world, and knowing they'll no longer be sending some tens of thousands of dollars per year to a city with such insane roadways.
And after an hour or so of driving our streets, there are those parents who drop $30 for overnight parking and spend just as much on cabs, as we usher the two generations around town for celebratory dinners. We just as often take graduates with their out of state peers on their "the last time we'll do _____" bittersweet journeys. Cumulatively, it's a nice scene to witness.
After Labor Day, 'our nation's future' will return, and the spring of our city's social season will commence with the onset of fall. 'Our nation's future' will be sometimes a little maddening, sometimes a little reminiscent of our own former selves, and will sometimes open our eyes to things we've forgotten how to see.