I should preface by saying that I too view Central New York as a fantastic cesspool of crap. I’ve spent 20 years here. I know. But I am very proud to say that in my twentieth year here, I have finally and officially discovered the quintessential Central New York moment.

I was driving from Binghamton to Ithaca in the heart of October. In one hand I had a bagel smeared with pumpkin cream cheese. In the other I had a cup of hot apple cider. (In the other, I had the steering wheel.) Truly, there is no better way to experience autumn than through pumpkin cream cheese and hot apple cider. As I hit the highway, the hills opened up and I got my first look at how far the country had already gone into orange and red and yellow. More amazing than anything else, the leaves played against a deep blue sky, uninterrupted by even a single cloud (for the sake of all those non-central-new-yorkers out there, I should mention that this is a VERY VERY bizarre thing). It was cold enough to feel crisp, but warm enough to leave the windows down, and I sighed to myself through cream-cheese stained lips, breathing real fresh air, thinking "Damn! THIS is why you live in Central New York. THIS is what I’ve been looking for. Damn it feel good to be alive!"

Then it started to snow.

I rolled up my window and went back to sulking about how this place sucks so much.

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