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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Kids Are All Night

Perspective is a funny thing. All we know — all we can know, really — is what we experience. It may not be a true representation of reality, but it’s all we’ve got. We’re stuck inside our own eyes and ears and grubby little fingers.

Take this weekend, for example. My parents were visiting, and staying in our condo. They come up once a year, Septemberish, for a long weekend — and most of what they know about our lives comes from those three days or so.

Oh sure, we tell them about work and news and the various bits of carpet and furniture where the dog stubbornly does her business — but until they’re here, in situ as it were, they can’t really see it.

(The same is true in reverse, of course. The missus and I visit our families over the holidays, and that’s often the only time we spend in their houses. So far as I know, my parents live year-round with Christmas cards on the shelf and a poinsettia on the kitchen table.

It’s probably not true, but what do I know? I don’t see their place in the middle of summer. Maybe they’re just big fans of holly wreaths and Hallmark Santas.

Also, they’re getting older. They might forget to put everything away. It could happen.)

“They’re about as likely to throw a kick-ass all-nighter as I am to become a riverdance virtuoso.”

Generally, what our folks see of our lives is more or less what they get. We maybe don’t eat quite as well on a daily basis, and we’ve been known to spend a whole weekend slumming around the condo on occasion — also, I do wear pants at all times outside the bedroom during a visit, which we all appreciate. But otherwise, what happens with them around is pretty much what would happen any other weekend of the year.

Pretty much. Only this weekend was a little bit different.

Boston, you see, is quite the college town. We don’t live in an especially student-infested area, but we are just a few blocks removed from parts of Boston University. And just across the river from MIT and Harvard. And also just a short walk from a teaching hospital and medical school.

Come to think of it, maybe we’re more ‘infested’ than I’d realized. I should probably set out some traps.

At any rate, my parents usually visit in the late summer, before the annual migration of frat boy flocks back to the city. But this year they were a tad tardy. The schools opened up last weekend, which meant this weekend was the first where the kids could really roll up their sleeves and focus on their studies. And paper writing. And science labs. And scholarly discourse.

In other words, half of Boston got balls-out shitfaced on Saturday night.

And some of that half — in fact, what sounded like approximately half of that half — were in the condo building next door, and on a balcony that faces the courtyard between the buildings. And also faces our bedroom windows.

I don’t know when the party kicked off, but it was in full throat by nine pm. It was still at peak volume around ten when my parents went to bed, kicking hard at midnight and — I thought — mostly died down by two in the morning, when I turned in.

Around three, someone apparently called the cops. I guess the revelers had found a second wind. Or another keg.

We only found out about the cops the next morning, from our neighbors upstairs. Evidently the police went ringing doorbells of upper-floor units, trying to find the blowout — and woke up the whole clan upstairs.

(Our upstairs neighbors are a couple with two kids, around one and six years old. They’re about as likely to throw a kick-ass all-nighter as I am to become a riverdance virtuoso.

I really hope they sent the six-year-old down to meet the cops, and told him to say:

Yeah, that’s my crib rocking, pigs. Why you gotta hate a playah?

Maybe that’s just me.)

Our condo was fast asleep by then — and luckily unaccosted by roving bands of noise pollution control officers — but I realized the next morning what impact this party likely had: My parents must think this happens all the time.

Think about it. They had no September data points. Now they have one. And it involves rowdy jackholes thirty feet behind their window screaming their love for Jose Cuervo in the wee hours of the morning.

I tried to assure them that this is not the case, that this party really is, in three years of living in the condo, an isolated event. Really. For trues.

They nodded and patted me on the head, of course. But they didn’t believe me. Not really. And why would they? This is the same kid who once told them that the bogeyman stole his homework, and that the dog was probably the one who jumped up and down on their bed and got Oreo crumbs all over the pillows. Hell, I wouldn’t believe me either.

They’re gone now, and have presumably sworn off returning to visit in future while the hoodlum student heathens are in session. Fall-through-spring Boston is a drunken debaucherous string of all-night parties and thumping speakers — in their minds, based on the evidence at hand.

(And seriously — I wish. I haven’t been invited to that kind of party in a long time.

I thought this lady at work was inviting me to a ‘kegger’ a while back. But it turns out she was talking about ‘Kegels’, instead. Which is not at all the same thing. And explains her horror when I warned her about overpumping the tap. Oops.)

I’ve decided there’s only one way around this. I’m setting up a webcam outside our bedroom window, facing out into the courtyard. I’ll let my parents see that these parties are not a common problem, that we’re leading a calm and civilized life here, and that our neighborhood can indeed be trusted to keep the noise down, the alcohol responsible and the police uninvolved.

And if I’m wrong, at least I’ll know when the next kick-ass party is going down. This is kind of a ‘win-win’ deal, so far as I’m concerned. Party on, Boston.

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