It’s that time of year again…

They’re invading and there is nothing we can do to stop them.  No proactive measures, no way to seal the entrances, nothing.  And you know what?  There are some people who think that their presence here is actually a good thing.

No, I’m not talking about cockroaches, though I might as well be.  I’m talking about tourists.

Today is the other day of the year when our fair city swells with the ranks of Townies, Suburbanites, and those dreaded infiltrators, Tourists.

When I worked in retail on Beacon Hill I used to have to work on the 4th of July.  It was absolute hell.  I worked in an antique store and that day we got hordes of two types of people, thieves and tourists.  The thieves were there for only one purpose, to steal from us or from the tourists.  The tourists were there largely to gawk or to ask us dumb questions.  The #1 top question was, “Do you have any silver by Paul Revere?”

For those of you not in the know, Paul Revere was a silversmith but not a prolific one by any means.  On the rare occasion that one of his pieces is unearthed in a private collection somewhere it is usually sold at auction and goes for big money.  The last time I remember a piece being sold it was auctioned off by a church and the proceeds were used to refinance the rehabbing of the entire sanctuary.  So, no, the tiny little shop I worked for did not and would never have a piece of silver by the most famous and one of the least prolific silversmiths in US History.

Charles St., where I used to work, leads directly to the Hatch Shell where the Pops play and the fireworks take place.  People who are really insane devoted actually camp out overnight so they can get a space on the Esplanade in front of the Hatch Shell the morning of the 4th and they sit there ALL DAY waiting for the festivities to begin.  That meant that at the end of the day on the 3rd and during the day on the 4th we’d be flooded on Charles St. with drunks, revelers, and all sorts of folks looking to make a dime off the tourists who’d flock to Boston for a “genuine American 4th of July experience.”

July 5th in Boston, and on the other side of the river in Cambridge, looks a bit like Time’s Square on January 1st each year.  Trash is strewn everywhere, food, bottles, and, of course, the results of people who drank too much and couldn’t, ahem, make it to a bathroom.  It is mayhem.  Most locals head out of the town for the 4th.  Or, they do what I do, stay inside and batten down the hatches.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a Happy 4th.  I’ll be at home in air conditioned comfort away from the tourist invasion and waiting for Geoff to come home from his patrol.  Think of him as you watch the fireworks, he’ll be out herding cats tourists.


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