I am incredibly lucky. I was born in New Jersey, but I have lived in Georgia since I was very young. My dad was offered a promotion and a slight raise twice to move back up north when I was a kid, and he turned it down twice. He told me it was the best thing for our family, and now I understand why. I travel to the Northeast for business once or twice a year, and every time I go to the Northeast, I am reminded of how lucky I am to not live there.
The Northeast certainly has its good qualities. Some of the best food and beer I’ve had is up here, from New England to Pennsylvania. Reubens, authentic New York-style pizza, Philly cheesesteaks, lobstah rolls, and Connecticut rolls are absolutely delicious. The borough of Manhattan, an urban jungle of tons of skyscrapers anchored on an island of bedrock, is one of the most impressive manmade wonders of the world. The heavy industry that built modern America spanned across the Northeast. Wall Street is up here. Finally, and most importantly, I was born up here. But, because of the following reasons, I could never live here.
1. It’s Dirty
The first thing I always notice as soon as I leave the airport up north is how dirty everything is. The air reeks (New York City is a major offender here) especially in the summer. The streets, overpasses, parks, and buildings are dirty. Sometimes the insides of the buildings, including restaurants, are dirty. There are so many old, dilapidated, beaten up buildings existing solely as eyesores, and it looks like little to no effort has been made to properly restore them to at least a presentable status. Sidewalks are covered in dirt, urine, poop, garbage…it’s just a dirty place, especially in the cities and towns.
2. The Roads And Road System Are Horrible
Maybe I’m spoiled for living in one of the few states that is near anal retentive about maintaining its roads, but Northeastern roads are in absolutely horrible shape. On my current business trip, I have driven from New York City through Connecticut to Rhode Island, then back down through New Jersey into Pennsylvania and then Delaware. It’s been a miserable, rickety trek over pothole after pothole. I don’t think I’ve driven on a smooth, well-paved road since I’ve been up here. Then you drive by several lane closures and hope that they are working on the road with all that tax money they collect, right? Nope, just a closed lane and no workers.
As if the roads weren’t bad enough, the traffic is horrible. Atlanta has bad traffic, but it’s never taken me almost an hour to drive seven miles. There are confusing interchanges, a lack of road signs at crucial intersections, and shitty drivers. Driving in the Northeast is just an overall horribly unpleasant experience.
3. It’s Insanely Expensive
My business colleagues up here always mention, off the record, that the cost of living is absolutely ridiculous. Food is expensive. Utilities are expensive. Transportation is expensive. Housing is expensive, especially if you want to live in a good area. And, of course, taxes are high. Personally, I like having a disposable income and being able to set aside money every time I get paid. And even when you visit from out of town, you notice things are expensive. I’ve stayed in hotels in smaller cities in the tri-state area with charge rates that you’d expect to see for a major sporting event anywhere else in the country. You can’t eat out for less than $15 per person. I’d rather live somewhere where I can get more bang for my buck.
4. The People Suck
Northerners are generally assholes. I don’t get it. Where I grew up, people always wave, say hi just to say hi, have relatively good manners, and make you feel welcome in their presence. Men offer their seats to women. People say thank you. Most northerners, aside from the fantastic individuals I do business with, of course, walk around with a fuck you attitude. No one acknowledges your existence unless they want something from you. It’s a culture shock if you come from a place where people are hospitable.
5. It Gets Fucking Cold
Call me a pansy, but I love warm weather and hate cold weather. Is global warming still a thing? Bring it on! Currently, it is 10 degrees colder outside my hotel than it is in Atlanta. That’s just unacceptable, and it gets worse as the winter goes on. Down South, 20 degrees Fahrenheit is considered apocalyptically cold. In the Northeast, that’s standard winter weather. There’s no way I could live in a place like that.
6. No Sweet Tea
What the fuck is iced tea and why does it taste horrible?
Thankfully, in about two more days, I’ll be back in Georgia where my standard of living is just right, and I can sit back, drink a sweet tea, and think about how lucky I am..