1. You miss the smell of baking Cheerios.
Without the General Mills cereal plant close by, the breeze doesn’t carry that kind-of-weird/kind-of-pleasant scent of toasted oats to your nose.
2. It actually keeps you awake at night wondering why all supermarkets can’t be like Wegmans.
On trips home you actually schedule time to wander the aisles. Seeing family and friends? Meh. “Wait, we’re out of Bison Dip? I’ll go!”
3. You’ve considered shipping a box of dry-ice packed Sahlen’s hot dogs across the country.
While you’re at it, add a case of Chiavetta’s or Weber’s mustard to your online cart.
4. None of your new friends have heard of a lawn fete.
“Wait, you guys didn’t get drunk at a beer tent in a church parking lot next to carnival rides, a dunk tank and temporarily legalized gambling? These gold mines of religious fundraising and parish-endorsed debauchery didn’t exist where you grew up?”
5. Speaking of fundraising, apparently there’s these new things called meat raffles.
And they are exactly what they sound like.
6. You haven’t seen a Bills game in forever.
The entire Western New York region may shut down on game day as rabid fans fill up bars and living rooms, but two decades of mediocrity make it almost unheard of to catch a game on national TV. Last time it happened: “hmm…is this a new expansion team? Holy shit, the Bills are on!”
7. Your pants fit better.
Breakfast is a Greek diner. Lunch is beef on weck at Anderson’s, a trip to Ted’s or a chicken finger sub at Jim’s SteakOut. Then maybe some wings (obviously), Mighty Taco and a box of sponge candy, all washed down with a loganberry or a few Blue Lights. Sounds like a glorious day of gastronomic magic, but Buffalo’s greatest bites are far – so far – from health food.
8. Can you explain icing again?
Turns out the rest of the country (Minnesota excluded) doesn’t seem to care much about hockey.
9. Your local car dealership just isn’t that “Huuuuuuge.”
And you’ve almost forgotten who your injury attorneys were.
10. It’s been years since you shoveled a roof.
Standard procedure after those lake-effect snowpocalypses that hit a few times a year.
11. You haven’t had a good pizza argument in a while.
With a pizza joint on every corner, it’s no wonder everyone had their favorite, and they’d be more than willing to defend their crust, sauce and tiny circles of pepperoni until things got physical.
12. Friday night is no longer fish fry night.
You mean my current city doesn’t have more Catholics than the Vatican and it’s no longer written in the city charter that crispy beer-battered haddock be served on every corner?
13. You’ve seen the sun in winter.
For half the year, I’m sure it’s confusing to see a strange yellow orb in the sky over your new city.
14. 2am seems like an appropriate last call.
With Buffalo bars open until four, maybe you’d head to Elmwood or Allentown (or god forbid, Chippewa) at one, when most of the country is ready to call a cab. After some time away, that schedule seems quite ridiculous. Or maybe you’re just getting old.
15. You forgot the words to “Shout!”
And then you’re back for a wedding and the DJ invariably cranks it out just between “We Are Family” and “No Diggity”. Meanwhile all of the natives are freaking out and belting out an endless line of “little bit louder nows” while the out-of-towners are wondering what the hell is going on. Whether or not you join in is directly impacted by how many drinks deep you are.
16. It’s been ages since you were drunk at a free outdoor concert.
How many Thursday’s did you spend swilling Labatt Blue on the steps of a statue as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones ripped through a free set for an audience of office workers and college students? Meanwhile you just shelled out $75 for a band you barely like and can’t help but think, “that was pretty awesome.”
17. You’ve discovered proper coffee.
Guys, seriously…we need to talk. Tim Horton’s is terrible. Unless Jim Kelly is working the drive-through, you don’t have to line up every morning and block traffic. There are better ways to caffeinate yourself.
18. You think the waterfront still sucks.
When you lived here, there were more waterfront revitalization proposals than Rob Ray career penalties. You assumed they’d be filed alongside Tom Brady getting a key to the city as a “never-gonna-happen” — until you came home for Christmas and stumbled onto Canalside and HARBORCENTER. Is that an outdoor ice rink for skating and curling? There are free concerts, paddleboats and lawn games in the summer? I can rent a kayak then come back and grab a beer at one of the swankiest sports bars I’ve ever seen? Progress is possible!