Wednesday, April 26, 2006

On the Rhode

When I started this blog, I hoped that it would be a good way to keep friends and well-wishers up-to-date on the latest goings on in my life. I have attracted more readers than I thought I would, but I haven't been very good at keeping anyone up-to-date. Keeping that in mind, I'm happy to announce to that we bid adieu to Syracuse about three weeks ago for the biggest little state in the union, Rhode Island. This was the fourth time I've moved across state lines since graduating from college, so I guess this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Syracuse was never my favorite place to call home and in some ways, I knew that we were going to be leaving there sooner rather than later.

It's not too difficult to find people who are ready to bad mouth Syracuse. On at least three or four occasions over the past three years, I have met people who, upon learning that I lived in Syracuse, proceeded to tell me how much they loathe the 'Cuse. I don't consider myself a master of social etiquette, but I try to avoid openly insulting someone's hometown upon meeting them, no matter how much I might dislike it.

Sadly, a lot of what people dislike about Syracuse is true. Like most once vibrant cities that are down on their luck, Syracuse is trying to reinvent itself. There seems to be a real effort to help improve the relationship between the university and the city and if that continues in earnest, I'm sure it will pay some dividends. Without the university, Syracuse really would be the hellhole that people claim it already is. So while Syracuse may get a bit of a make-over, it will probably never be the hip and vibrant city that it claims it wants to be. Even in its glory days, I doubt it was all that exciting of a place. Still, in my opinion, there are no boring cities, only boring people. My grandparents spent most of their lives in Terre Haute, Indiana and probably lived a more stimulating life than some people who live in the middle of great international cities.

Not to kick Syracuse while it's down, but I have to say that the weather there is really awful. I've spent most of my life in so-called bad weather areas, but Syracuse is only place where the weather really bothered me. According to the National Oceanograhic and Atmospheric Administration, the average annual chance of precipitation in Syracuse is 46.6% and the average percentage of available sunlight is 44.6%. Statistically speaking, you have a better chance of seeing the sun and staying dry in Seattle and Portland than in Syracuse. On top of that, you've got a mean annual snowfall of 110 inches to deal with.

While our careers are ultimately what pulled us away from Syracuse, the general malaise that permeates life in Central New York was a strong contributing factor. In Syracuse, it is impossible to ignore the signs of decay and decline. Even if you look beyond the vacant buildings and empty freeways, there is a strong undercurrent of negativity and resignation flowing through almost all public discourse. It's difficult to enjoy life in a place that everyone is trying to figure out how to get away from.

1 comment:

MDS said...

I salute your grandparents for founding the Terre Haute Area Swingers Society and thus living a stimulating life in a town not known for its wild side.