Apologies for the scant posting - Jake and I have been back at our parents' house for the past few days, and sharing an old computer with a slow connection four ways isn't conducive to rapid-fire blogging. We'll try to pick things up early next week.
It is good to be home. Everybody assumes their childhood is a typical one; it isn't until later in life that you realize how many people grew up differently than you did, and when you return to your hometown after several years of living somewhere else, you see it through new eyes. I am thankful for the love of my family, and this Thanksgiving I am particularly thankful for having grown up in such a nice, spacious house, where I always had my own room, and in which I could always find a quiet corner to read, or just to be alone with my thoughts. Those things are difficult to come by in New York City. Growing up, we always had a refrigerator full of food, and by that I mean 'real' food, not 'food products' and frozen dinners. I assumed that most families had two or three vegetables with dinner every night; now that I cook for myself, I wonder how my parents found the time and energy to prepare them.
Being home is good for some other stuff, too. In my opinion, Buffalo has better junk food than any city I have ever visited. Pizzerias, submarine sandwich shops, chicken wing purveyors and sweet shops exist in numbers inconceivable to a person accustomed to a more fashionable and health-conscious city like New York or Seattle. Living here would be bad for my heart, liver, and insulin levels, but it is a fun place to visit around the holidays.
Similarly, record stores, used book stores, and vintage/thrift shops thrive here; people in this economically depressed city are always looking to save money, so the market for second-hand goods is thriving, and rents are low enough that businesses like that can afford plenty of space in semi-bustling parts of the city. It is a great city in which to browse. After an hour of flipping through the used cd bins, I emerged from Record Theatre with The Walkmen's Bows & Arrows, Panic! at the Disco's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, The National's eponymous 2003 debut, and Steve Martin's classic stand-up album A Wild and Crazy Guy. Used record shops can rarely afford rent in New York City, and those that can are limited to the most heavily artist-populated neighborhoods and are picked clean on a daily basis. Sometimes its good to live in the cultural mainstream - the vanguard moves too fast sometimes.