Actually, I do apheresis, the donation of plasma. As someone who is blessed with a rare blood type (AB negative) my plasma is in demand more than my red blood cells. I used to know why this is so but over the years my mind has dumped this information into a crevasse that I can no longer reach.
But that’s not what this entry is about. It’s about living in the Buffalo area. Western New York has been and continues to be an economic embarrassment filled with the most genuine, unpretentious people. I am convinced that economic disparity and community intimacy are not unrelated. In an area where everyone has to sacrifice so much – literally being bled by our dysfunctional local and state governments – we end up sharing a closeness that perhaps is not as easily found elsewhere. Most of my friends do not – can not – surround themselves with anything resembling opulence because they are not opulent. I think the most popular car in this area is a Saturn. The average suburban house sells for less than $140K. Lord & Taylor is struggling to stay profitable at the mall. We are far from being a wealthy community and instead surround ourselves with our friends rather than things.
The other unique aspect of Western New Yorkers is that we are open books. When I lived on the West Coast I thought that most everyone was very friendly but shallow; virtually no one cared or wanted to get past the small talk. Here in Buffalo it seems that casual conversation quickly takes on more intimacy; and as a small community it is easy to find common themes to
discuss commiserate over.
I will never be able to retire early. But I will never be lonely, either.