I have lived in New England for every single breath of my existence. I was born in, went to college in, and now own have a mortgage in Maine. There was a brief stint in Massachusetts for a new job, but I try to forget about that dark time in my life. I consider myself well acquainted with the hard-nosed living that New England has to offer. Although every single one of us New Englanders volunteer to live here, that doesn’t stop us from complaining about every aspect of being here 10 months out of the year September through June. We love to be martyrs.
You can tell a New Englander by how many times they bring up the weather in conversation. We’ve got some of the most brutal winters here in the New England region. The temps drop so low that snot freezes to your face on the walk to the mailbox and Nor’easters that could blow you off your feet and cover you in snow doing it. Winter seems like it lasts from November to April every single year, and my oil bill is proof of it. Fellow New Englander @JennaLCrowley can attest. There’s a saying here that we have four seasons here in New England: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and road construction season. The winters are long, our summer is short and boy howdy won’t you hear about it. “Christ I just got the driveway cleared yesterday and wouldn’t you know we’re ‘sposed to get another 8 inches tonight. Can’t even keep up!” If you think office small talk about the winter is bad, try living somewhere that the weather is the main focal point of every conversation, whether it be good or bad. You’d think it is hell living here, and for the most part it is, but there is no beating July and August in New England. I promise you that.
Where there is winter, there are bad roads. Plowing, salt, frost heaves, all make a recipe for disaster for the road conditions here in New England. You know that commercial State Farm has out about that terrible pothole? Yeah that’s rookie shit compared to what we have here in New England. We’ve got frost heaves the size of speed tables at the first deep freeze and potholes that could be mistaken for manholes. Each year, mechanic shops begin to salivate as the temperatures drop because they know business is about to be booming. With the beatings our roads take and the never-ending winter, we’ve got a very narrow window each summer to repair everything and get our roads touched up before they get destroyed again. This leads us to complaining about something else.
Oh, the traffic. Everyone loves to bitch about the traffic. Whether it is being stuck behind a school bus, a plow truck, or lane closure due to the lovely construction mentioned above, there is always plenty of excuses as to why you were late for something. I live in Maine which is extremely rural, so any time I encounter even an ounce of traffic you bet I will be bitching about it. I have driven through Boston and handful of times and I can promise you I have no grounds to complain about traffic where I live, but that doesn’t stop me or anyone else I know from complaining all the same. There are certain states (read: Connecticut, Massachusetts) who are notorious for being bad drivers. Every driver in those two states is an asshole and I’ll not be convinced otherwise. Having lived in MA for a year, the bad driving began to rub off on me. In no universe should it take me 25min to drive 4 miles home but that was the norm and I now understand the frustration and the root cause of a Masshole’s aggression. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and they are just doing what they need to do to survive. Outside of Boston and some locations in CT, New England is just not built up enough to sustain a reliable public transportation system, so we all drive our own cars. All of us. EVERYWHERE. Traffic is bound to happen. Just be prepared that when we are late for something (and we will be late) it is because of the traffic.
The Taxes Are Too Damn High!
According to CNBC, three of the top 10 highest tax burdened states are located here in New England (Connecticut, Vermont, Maine.) Given recent referendum results this past fall, I’d expect this to still be the case when a new list comes out. You’d think after dealing with terrible weather, bad roads, awful transportation situations, living would at least be cheaper here. Nope. We’ve got taxes on just about everything.
The Price of Anything
I’m not going to say we have any grounds to complain about the price of gas, groceries, toilet paper, real estate, but we certainly do it anyways. There is always a salty old New Englander out there complaining about the price of something and claiming he could find it for way cheaper on craigslist. When you’re dealing with a high cost of living and relatively low incomes, trading and bartering is prevalent. I’m honestly not sure if anything new is actually sold here in New England because it seems like we are all just trading each other’s shit back and forth until it eventually winds up rusting away on someone’s lawn. Real talk, my favorite part of Sunday’s is listening to all the stuff people are trying to peddle on 97.5 WOKQ’s Telephone Flea Market. Only on the telephone flea market could you trade the tailgate off your ’95 F150 for 3 snow tires with 25% tread and panini maker.
To say we are not fans of anything from New York is an understatement. We are all massive homers and worship the ground Tom Brady walks on. But we are also extremely quick to turn on our own teams when they aren’t performing. Any time the Pats drop a game we think the sky is falling and heaven forbid you drop 3 games in a row out of a 162-game season. If our teams aren’t winning, it’s the first thing we are going to start whining about after we speak our piece on the weather. We’ve been a spoiled group of fans for going on 20 years at this point and we don’t know how to lose. You can bet your ass we are all complaining when our favorite team drops a big game.
Regardless of what complaints we may have, New England is awesome, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you ever find yourself near Portland, ME, give me a shout and I’ll be sure to give you some recommendations on all it has to offer. Stay warm out there.