By: Sarah Bishop
This post is part of a TNGG series on Cities.
Buffalo is like…
Okay, I got it!
Have you ever been with someone that your friends, family, colleagues, or hell, even the man on the moon has never let you live down? You know, someone you’re absolutely and completely ashamed to be caught in broad daylight with and would never consider taking to a social gathering, yet you often find yourself spending an absurd amount of alone time thinking of them? And, after all, they are really someone you can be yourself around, they share common likes/dislikes and they fully understand where you come from.
Well, that’s Buffalo.
And, sooner or later, all inhabitants of the city will have to face the fact that they are caught in a quagmire known as a “love-hate” relationship.
The stages of grief, so familiar to some, are a useful guide to help one find their “Buffalove.”
First, there is the initial stage of denial. Many Buffalonians will spend years, tears and their life savings to fight their urges to love Buffalo – I know I did. Their greatest advocate in helping them remain in this stage is that urge to point out Buffalo’s [non] accomplishments over the years: one of the poorest cities in the country, Blizzard of ’77, four Super Bowl losses (in a row), etc., etc.
Next on the quest for love is the anger stage. This stage is a little more complicated to understand. Buffalonians get angry – a lot…and I mean a lot. On any given day, we are angry about a plethora of topics ranging from the weather to government to the on-going development of Canal Side to the latest news on one of the local sports teams. But don’t be fooled – this is straight up love. The four-letter words that liberally flow from the city’s inhabitants are words of encouragement and endearment; they get so angry because they want nothing but the best for their city. It’s maybe not the greatest methodology, but under all that blue collar is good intentions.
Then comes the game of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Whether they realize it or not, by this point, the average Buffalonian is completely screwed. They are well aware of the fact that they are invested; they start to use bargaining chips and pray to whatever powers that be that it won’t be forever. They begin to volunteer at every and all charities with the thought that possibly they can work years off their “Buffa-debt” if they give back to the community. I think I have given blood at the local American Red Cross under this auspice at least twice.
But then the depression sets in. Suddenly, all the routine activities you once scorned seem to make life worth living – it wouldn’t be summer without Thursday at the Square, Pearl Street is constantly calling your name, and all you want to do is go to a Bills pre-season game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. You’ve lost your appetite; food outside of Buffalo just doesn’t taste the same. It all culminates in one day: you’re sitting behind your desk in your corner office in some “sexy” city like LA or DC, and it finally hits you, and it hits you hard – you know where you belong, where you’ve wanted to be all along…
Which leads us to our final stage: acceptance. You’re in Buffalove. And if you’re not already there, you’re moving straight back to Buffalo, where you will live for the rest of your life and wait for your children and their children and their childrens’ children to go through The Five Steps.
Photo by William Wilson loves Belinda
Sarah Bishop currently serves as the Education Coordinator at Buffalo First!, where she works to build a local, green and fair economy in Western New York via an involved and socially conscious citizenry. In her spare time, Bishop photographs both domestically and internationally. For Bishop, photography is not only an artistic endeavor but an anthropological one. It affords her the chance to participate in her environment while simultaneously observing it. Her latest undertakings, adventures, shows, and shenanigans can be followed on her blog, Inside the Lens.