As Buffalo Old Home Week Homecoming
approached, BuffaloGeek is asking around
to find out why the hell you'd wanna live in Buffalo, let alone come back. Here is my story.
People ask me how I get around, seeing as I don't own a car and still seem to get from point A to point B pretty well. I tell 'em "boys and bus passes." I pride Buffalo for a fairly manageable public transit system, and I guess part of that is why I stay here. As for the boys, that's what landed me in Buffalo.
I was raised in Rural North Carolina, injected into the South by my father's Air Force career. The air was fresh and the beach (think ocean not lake, goddammit) was only a couple hours away. However, I soon began to loathe the culture, I felt like a city boy and the cotton fields were like padded walls, keeping me protected from myself and the rest of the world.
Turning 18 and a heightened sense of the world thanks to the good ole intertubes made me crave something new. I received my first chance when I began dating a good natured, yet slightly simple boy living in Raleigh. He would travel to see me, and I'd spend weekends in the city with him. The concrete hustle and bustle attracted me, living in a machine of commerce and humanity. I was hooked. The horrible occasion of his dad's stroke led us up to West Virginia and the opportunity for me to move in to help take care of him. Back in NC, I spent 3 months playing wet nurse to the most ornery old man I've ever encountered, who'd just rather piss on himself then try to get off the couch to walk three steps to the loo.
Thankfully he recovered and we took him home. I was able to Lysol the couch, but Jimmy and I weren't able to patch our relationship, strained by having to play "straight" for three months around a loopy old man. I learned a lot from Jimmy, though, like how hard it is to keep living with someone you are no longer with romantically while trying to find romance elsewhere. West Virginia boys are conflicted and very jealous I suppose. The need for me to stay in North Carolina had ended. My family had all fled
moved on (save my mum, but this was in the early stages of none of us wanting anything to do with her) and another opportunity arose.
Dad had just moved back to Bradford, Pa(mid 2004), into his girlfriend's house. All of his family were scattered all around Northwest PA; I had never had a connection with many of them do to the distance and an imposed alienation via my mom. After one too many post relationshipal fights with Jimmy, I moved up in February of 2005 with Dad and Jerrie to spend some much needed family time, and to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Once again, I was in the sticks.
Bradford has three main employment options: Zippo, Walmart, or the oil fields. Each one will suck you in, and you will never get out of Bradford if you take the bait of steady employment. I was soon restless, and began to harness the web to escape the reality. Don't get me wrong, Bradford is a beautiful town, but I couldn't bring my self to settle here. I decided to use the method of dating to explore the area.
I went all over the Southern Tier trying to find a fit. Marienville, Jamestown, Fredonia, Erie, Oil City, Olean, none really appealed to me. After realizing I had slept with essentially every applicable Bradford gay, I turned my eyes to NY. I admit Buffalo attracted me for one thing: the Buffalo Chicken Wing. Never actually eaten a real chicken wing, the idea of a city who's food tastes influence the whole world intrigued me. I started my quest to find out about this city, and looked around for a guide to show me. I found this gentle and passionate bear named Jamie, who one night out of the blue drove up to show me his world. After rocking his world, natch, the relationship grew and once again the opportunity to start fresh and move to a new place arose.
Ahh, Buffalo! I fell in love immediately. I wanted to know more, I wanted to learn what made this city tick. I saw a bit of every town I've ever been to in Buffalo, and the people with their manic attitudes and over busy lifestyle just sucked me in. I started to assimilate, first with the chicken wing, then I gave the Sabres a try. Niaevety soon fell away however, like taking the case off of a swiss cuckoo clock, I saw the inner workings of Buffalo. I noticed that many gears were missing, and even some just ground against each other, going nowhere; yet the clock kept ticking.
Turns out a few gears are missing from the gay male population in Buffalo, as well. Jamie turned out to be nuts and after 11 months in a codependent controlling relationship, I broke his ribs in a drunken fight and that was the end of that.
I had created a trend: every so often pick up and start fresh. "Learn from your mistakes and get the hell out of there" was the motto.Where was I to go? Rochester? Did I wanna go back to bradford and start the hunt again? I couldn't. Buffalo had me, I felt like belonged after only a year, and I couldn't bear to leave. So I stayed and broke my trend, starting a new life down the street, instead.
I actually have a job here, its not the best, but it pays the bills and I have them there benefitos that the old people worry about. I don't own a car and I don't ever want one as long as I'm here. I get around just fine, like I said, boys and bus passes. Sure, the metro rail could do more than run in a straight line, but relying on public transportation has made me a Elmwood Village boy. I love it. I shop "local" because I don't have a choice, I rarely go to the malls despite my love for the commercial. I feel like one of those gears, My impact is small, but I exist here.