Wednesday, July 14, 2010
When I first heard the name it didn't inspire any excitement in me, to be honest I knew little to nothing about the place, chicken wings was basically the first thing that came to mind. Every person I told that there was a possibility we were moving to Buffalo concluded that we had lost our minds. Everything I heard was negative; it's so cold, there is nothing to do there, it's a dead city, there is so much snow in the winter, it is so cold, it's so far away, it is so cold... Lets just say I was a little more than hesitant. We though about it and though about it and thought about it some more, but in the end it was the right choice for us, so we did.
We headed north. The way there was hell, I hate Virginia and all her cousins. I was lucky to have my mom as a co-pilot, otherwise I would've had a panic attack by the second toll booth. I have an aversion to driving and I drive the automotive equivalent of a horse and buggy, I hate it and it hates me which is probably the reason why my tire blew in South Carolina...it didn't pop, it didn't slowly get flat, it blew, it blew to pieces and I thought I had pissed my pants. I handled it like a champ, my husband said, meaning I didn't have a complete nervous breakdown and there was no crying involved..just some slight cursing. Three glorious days later we reached our destination and it was worth every second of driving agony.
Now that I have lived in Buffalo for more than 5 minutes I think I know why I have never heard anything positive about this town...because Buffalonians are smart people and they want to keep the fact that this city is amazingly fantastic a secret... I'm guessin' it's to prevent overpopulation and all the bullshit that comes with it, you know? They don't care if you think their city sucks, they know it doesn't suck. It doesn't suck at all. One thing I heard more than once was that "people live in Buffalo because they can't afford New York City", really? Really? I'm pretty sure, the person who told me that has never been to North Buffalo or any of its glorious, wealthy neighborhoods. With the risk of sounding like a cheap infomercial... I believe Buffalo has the best of both worlds, the hustle and bustle of the city and the beautiful scenery that characterizes upstate New York, without the overcrowding of the urban sprawl, the pornographic housing and living costs or the hellish traffic congestion.
Another thing I was expecting was for people to be rude, loud, obnoxious and uninterested. You know, the typical New Yorker. I am sure there are some...since, lets face it, stereotypes are 90% based on truth...but I have yet to encounter any. To my surprise the people I have met are genuinely nice and excited to tell me all about Buffalo and how great it is. And they actually give a shit about what I have to say, or so it seems. One thing that has really stood out to me, mostly because I can relate since I feel the same way about where I'm from, is their pride. They are proud of where they live and what they do and it shows. Buffalonians are passionate people, people that truly care and are aware of their surroundings and how they impact their environment. Something we should all care a bit more about. It is very rewarding to live somewhere where the people that stand out are not the ones doing everything wrong, the people that stand out are the ones that are doing things right, that's a refreshing change.
Maybe I'm being naive. Maybe this is not the Buffalo some people have experienced. Maybe I'm just high on smog. But as of right now this is my Buffalo. The Buffalo I have seen, I might not have seen it all but I have seen enough to know that I love it. I am grateful to be here. I feel lucky to be able to take a walk downtown, to look at the lighthouse down at the Marina, to go to the market on Saturdays, to sit on the park and not worry about getting mugged. To stroll down Elmwood with a delicious cup of coffee that wasn't brewed at Starbucks or cost me my first born, to go shop at the Coop and know that the money that I am spending will revitalize my economy not China's, to be able to meet the farmer that grew and picked the vegetables that I'm having for dinner. I'm grateful for beef on weck, frosty Canadians and 72 degrees summer days. These are all things that make this place unique and truly incredible and exciting, this is what quality of life is all about. I've been trying to define all that I feel towards this place and the other day I read it somewhere: it's Buffalove. Definition - a marriage of two smile-inducing words, not unlike the combination of married celebrities, or divorcing celebrities, or otherwise romantically entangled celebrities. Anyway, it means you love Buffalo.* I thought it was the perfect word.
From now on if any of my friends that live elsewhere ask me how I like it here I will say it's shit. Don't worry Buffalo, your secret is safe with me. ;)
*Block Club Issue #19, May/June 2010