So, I totally just had a flash of either insight or madness at the Chiropractor’s office this morning. I was waiting, and I had grabbed a book from home, knowing that I’d have a few minutes this morning. I started reading City of Light by Laruen Belfer, mainly because my mentor told me I ought to.
And I should remind you, I live in Buffalo.
And as I read the amazingly complementary things that I knew, at least in theory, about my hometown at the turn of the last century, I read statistics that put Buffalo in the top ten cities of America, and in the top twenty of the world, words written based on the census of 1900 and the asthetics of people like William Dean Howells and Mark Twain, and then I read a quote from Harper’s magazine from 1885, referring to Buffalo: The whole world will pay her triibute. (Thus, I finally understand why they called her, and still do with an ironic sneer, The Queen City.)
I read that, and it was if I was reading these things for the very first time. I had this flash that was as clear and startling as when you oversleep by a signifcant amount… I figure it was either insight or madness. I thought, “I wonder if Buffalo’s been cursed.” And immediately I thought, no, cursed isn’t quite the right word, but that something – something subtle, something intentional, and yet something quietly subversive and significantly malicious happened here that sent the city into a decline, into ridicule, and then finally into obscurity.
Now, I’ll grant you that I grew up in the suburbs, but even then, even as a child, I knew that my city wasn’t like other people’s cities. There was something wrong with my city, and by association, me. It’s less strong in the outlying WNY region, but it’s present, and it has its epicenter at the City of Buffalo. Whatever it is.
It’s like a thin place suddenly becoming a thick place.
It makes me want to stay here and work for its benefit, all the more.