Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's 7 a.m., Do You Know Where Your Teenagers Are?

Well, for one thing, they're working.

I'm at the Tucson airport bound for Denver. Got here at 7 and was surprised to see a kid working the shoeshine stand, where I stopped to have the desert dust shined off my loafers.

Kid appears to be about 12, but he says he's a sophomore in college.

"Where?" I ask.

"Last year at the University of Arizona; Pima Community College right now," he says, working expertly on the shoes.

"How come?"

"Tuition went up. I hope to be back next year."

Here's a lesson for me, comfortable in my late middle age, headed for a swell hotel in Denver. Tuition goes up a couple of hundred dollars at the U of A, and here's a kid shining shoes early on a Saturday morning, to try to get back into a good state school.

He started at 5 a.m. this morning.

I went to get a cup of coffee. The girl at the coffee counter also started early, at 4.30.

Both of these kids were cheerful and hard-working. They were not complaining.

Just a reminder to me, as I check into my $245 a night hotel room on a four-day business trip. You don't need to scratch the surface very hard to see how tough times really are for a lot of people, including kids.


1 comment:

paleolith said...

Back in 1967-1971, I attended a good private college. Comprehensive charges (tuition, room, and board) were about $4000/year. My parents used a time payment plan and I got a small student loan, but my parents did not borrow. Today at that college, tuition alone is over $20K/year. How do they do it? If I were planning to put a kid through college, the costs would seriously scare me -- and the costs scare me in terms of the future of this country.