Lately, it has occurred to me that Rochester and I, maybe, perhaps, have got off on the wrong foot. It’s no secret my wife and I have been detesting where we live. We moved last August from the West Coast, and it’s just been… well… it’s been… it’s been exhaustingly frustrating: rabies scare, smoke-ridden apartment, under employment, Polar Vortextation, stranded for hours because of shoddy mechanic work, knee injuries, rude strangers, us leaving every other weekend just to feel normal, underwhelming food…
And we’re not pessimists, I promise. We moved here with positivity and high hope. Like breakfast, we prefer the sunny side. Unfortunately Rochester had other plans. There’s this cycle. Every time we begin to think positive about where we live, we look up, smile at the sky, and then get crapped on by a metaphorical seagull (i.e., Rochester), crapped on right in the kisser.
But that is neither here nor there.
Like a rat in a maze hitting his head against the wall over (and over), I need a fresh start. SO here it is. I’m starting over. I’m giving Rochester another shot, a fair shake, a second chance, some water under the bridge, a lumberjack handshake, a cough syrup detox and other clichés…
And why not? It’s summer, the first day of summer; this is when you get to go outside.
Lake Ontario–give it another chance!
I remember the first time I saw Lake Ontario, my first Great Lake! What a sight. Immense and infinite. I couldn’t look away, and like an ocean, I desperately yearned to know its secrets. But then I smelled Lake Ontario. And then I saw the grossly polluted Genesee River endlessly dumping into it. And then I said, “Hmmm, that’s too bad. Guess I’ll never come back here again.”
Well, nearly six months later, Megan and I took a trip up to the lake, and, I have to admit, I had a wonderful time. The smell wasn’t bad (we weren’t as close to the Genesee), and I enjoyed the lake’s serenity. I skipped rocks like a boss (that is, a boss who skips rocks), and Megan found some neat “ocean” glass. The sun was out and the breeze was perfect.
After we moved here, all anyone could tell us was how good the food is: “The Best Food in the Nation!” I also heard a lot about garbage plates. “That seems to fit,” I would say, because the quality here was as impressive as Idaho Mexican food. I since discovered that the Garbage Plate is actually a regionally famous dish. I’m staying clear.
The good news, as it turns out, is there actually is good food in Rochester. We just kept hitting the wrong places. There’s an oddly great collection of speciality food trucks, Schaller’s Drive-In has a memorable burger (with a huge jug of pickles!, free pickles, take as many as you like!), and Fraiche Bistro & Dessert Bar has excellent milkshakes.
The Festivals–give it another chance!
Rochesterians like to brag about their spring and summer festivals. Lilac Festival, Jazz Fest, Park Ave Fest, Greek Festival, etc. There’s one every other weekend, it seems. Here’s my question: How many opportunities do you really need to purchase a funnel cake, get a henna tattoo, and listen to reggae? My answer is one. I only need one.
We checked out the Lilac Festival; the lilacs weren’t blooming, and we left after an hour because it was lame. Oh great, a summer of these, I thought.
Well, we made to the opening night of Jazz Fest, and I have to admit (once again), I had a blast. Jazz Fest has an entirely different feel than the lilac festival has. There is busking and live entertainment everywhere, a line of delicious food trucks, and of course dancing in the street. It’s also right down the block from where we live.
We also enjoyed delicious sangrias at an indie movie theatre called The Little, which was great. More and more, I’m beginning to like this place.
The Shops–give them another chance!
We had a few rough patches with Rochester shopping. Getting violently cussed out for turning around in a parking lot by a parking lot attendant is probably the worst one. But in general, we’ve been consistently unimpressed with the quality of shopping. Western New York’s favorite grocery store chain, Wegmans, leaves us scratching our heads every time. Why do people love this store so much? It’s nice inside, but the variety is lacking, the aisles are super skinny, and the prices are a bit much. (COSTCO, we’re waiting for you).
And good news. Costco is currently being built for a fall opening. In addition, College Town is opening this fall as well, a new development near my school that will provide a grocery store, a Barnes and Noble, as well as a new brew pub, a cafe, and more.
But in the meantime, I’ve been enjoying some shops. Comics Etc., the Record Archive, and Pour Coffee Parlor are just a few that have really impressed me as of late. Excellent customer service, all around.
The folks at Comics Etc have been especially genuine and welcoming (even to a comic noob like myself). Some of the nicest people in town!
So there it is, Rochester. I’m moving forward. Let’s start fresh and be friends, okay? I think you’ll like me when you get to know me. Really. I’m packed full of funny stories and awful puns.
Really, I think I just needed a fresh perspective. It’s summer. And now I get to see another side of a city I keep hearing good things about. So here goes nothing!