Just the other day, one of my favorite local spots sent out a tweet that they were changing the taps. This is, for a beernerd like me, good enough reason to stop by a bar in the middle of the week.
Then I saw it, standing tall amongst the Belgian Whites and Double IPAs. It was a skinny orange tap. Slightly round at the top.
It was a pumpkin beer.
Summer, I was reminded, was almost over. I checked the calendar. Yes, it seems there is only a week left.
I live in Boston. In Brighton, to be exact, and the signs of the end of summer are everywhere. Uhaul trucks clog the streets, abandoned furniture fills the sidewalks. Around here we call it Allston Christmas, as much of the furniture is picked up as soon as it hits the sidewalk. If you are into old lamps, this is the place to be. And surely as New Years follows Christmas, Moving Day follows Allston Christmas. Leases all turn over on the same day in this town. Nobody is sure exactly why, aside from that the colleges are coming back, but that’s how things work around here. Everyone moves on September 1.
I’m a local here. There aren’t many of us in the Allston-Brighton are, but we are here. In the summer, we have the run of the town. There are seats at the bar, there are easy tables at the nice restaurants, there shorter waits at the deli. Service people are more relaxed and chattier. Even the cops are nicer. We are like the night watchmen of the neighborhood, keeping an eye on things until the neighborhood comes alive again. It’s a nice way to live for a while, and, like summer, it can’t last.
Soon the students will return. They will have too much money and too few manners. Those that are newly legal will puke in the streets. They will hassle the bouncers who don’t take their IDs. Someone will fall off a porch. At least one idiot will get their truck stuck under a bridge on Storrow Drive.
Locals pretty much have two strategies for dealing with the madness. We get out of town, or we hunker. It’s best to treat the weekend like a coming snowstorm, buy your bread and milk, park your car, and wait it out. This year, I am hunkering down.
I have a plan. I will be at a favorite pub, sitting with the regulars, enjoying a summer saison while I can, and watching the madness of moving day. The inexperienced Uhaulers. The semi-terrified foreign student. The frustrated parents. The many, many license plates from New Jersey. All will be navigating the confusing streets of my town, fighting for a space at the curd. Tired, angry, dealing with whatever weather New England throws at them. And I will be sitting on my stool, laughing with the crowd, watching it go down, and lamenting the end of summer.
Welcome to Boston. You can’t park there.