If a hypothetical friend came up to me one hypothetical day (preferably a day where large, hypothetical doses of coffee and biscuits are being freely and un-hypothetically consumed), asking me what I thought the biggest disadvantage to living in upstate New York is, I'd have to set down my mug and explain that one of my major disappointments is that nobody at home seems to actually know upstate New York is here at all.
Of course I'm exaggerating a tad. Most people do know there is a New York that exists outwith New York City. Problem is, it's rarely referred to in the United Kingdom outside of the context of the city and, as such, I've found it often treated as a sort of amorphous blob that everyone knows is out there somewhere and will be found when somebody actually wants to go look for it.
This is a shame. NY the state, if a little barren of life in spots - barren like the moon, actually - has lots of fun little quirks that generally tend to make up for it. Take the town names strung throughout the place, for example, either blatantly titled after other cities (here you can jaunt from Syracuse to Rome or Paris and be back well before lunchtime) or else holding a definitely half-hearted feel to them. My favourite examples of the latter from my scanning of Google-earth has included Friendship, Otto and the completely adorable Wirt. Can you even imagine how Wirt came about?
"Hey, Greg, what d'you reckon we should name our new town?"
"What did you say?"
"'Wirt', did you say? Yeah, that could work."
"Oh, that's good too! Write it down for tomorrow."
But I would also confess to my hypothetical inquisitor, if they hadn't by this stage wished they'd never asked and were already away and looking for some hypothetical decent conversation, the lack of information is partly my fault, at least in terms of the people who I've left in Scotland. It's been four or five months since I've last posted a blog - you can chalk that up to several reasons, as varied as they are dull - and though some people have probably responded to their absence with a miserably lengthy sigh of relief, I've decided to fling the blog back into cyberspace. It's going to be in a different format, though: I'm going to aim for a daily short posting (you have to set up the standards before its possible to let them slip, after all) of a diary of sorts. Some days such a diary that might entail a half page of meandering, some days a perhaps photo or two, some days a pair of sentences standing on their own wondering where the party's got to. We'll find out as the semester progresses with the workload.
I'm also stop stabbing absolutely every post onto social media. You know where to find me.