Wednesday, August 24, 2005
The cat has escaped its bag
Many or most of you may wonder why the hell a young couple such as ourselves would move to an industrial graveyard of a city like Buffalo; a place once described as the first North American ghost city. Between the ages of 18 and 24, I would ask the same question. After high school I hightailed it out of Buffalo to the farthest school that offered me a full scholarship: Houston. I only spent a year there before leaving to knock around North Carolina and Florida before settling back down and finishing my oh-so-valuable film degree. We were faced with several decisions about where to live after university. LA was ruled out as being too far and too much of a risk. My film career ambitions weren't connected enough to warrant the cross country risk (I only knew 3-5 people there 'in the business').
Eager to return to the liberal northeast, we packed up the Jetta and landed in Jersey...my wife's native land. It's been fun here, but really fucking expensive. After Karen's debacle with her ex employers have left her out of work since early July, we were getting crushed by the high rent and my seemingly endless commute. Her resume is all over the garden state without a nibble. Don't you think a UNC graduate warrants an interview? I certainly do.
My wife and I met in 99, and one of the first things we discovered was our Buffalo connection. She had extended family and both her parents were born there. My entire clan is based in the area. She was, however, very quick to say that she would never live in Buffalo. Never. Too cold, too gray. I couldn't have agreed more; why would I ever go back? Wouldn't that be a defeat?
Perhaps its my maturity (ha) or my desire to own a piece of real estate before I'm 45, but Buffalo is looking mighty fine. The city is experiencing a rebirth; the Elmwood/Richmond/Delaware Park areas are becoming hot places to live again, yet real estate prices are still the lowest of any major city. The winters are still long, yes, and the long term employment outlook is still shaky. However, there is a thriving cultural scene and most of the amenities for young professionals with a couple dollars of disposable income to enjoy.
It comes down to the money. We're getting an expensive apartment, yet it is 1/2 of our rent here in Jersey. There is little to no traffic and aside from gasoline, the cost of living is generally much lower than here. Car insurance goes down by several hundred dollars. If we make the same that we make here, which is looking all but guaranteed, we'll have almost 2k a month to spend or even save (gasp!). It just makes sense.
Who knows what will happen. Perhaps my writing prowess will get noticed and I'll be whisked into a bi-coastal existence, flying to LA every other week to cash big checks--I mean, to be validated as an artist(e). That might suck; I hate flying. It's not that I'm afraid of air travel, it's that I find the process to be excruciatingly tedious and difficult. I'm simply incapable of arriving two hours early for anything.
Okay, let's recap: moving to Buffalo is a good thing. Typical city involved in your typical daydream. It's a great community in the midst of a renaissance. Cost of living puts a ton of extra cash back into my pocket, which means we might be able to do the traveling that we always talk about.
Four more weeks in the cube, then truckin' up to Buffalo. I been thinking you got to mellow slow...