It looks like I got out of Boston at the right time.
The timing of my project has been mostly fortuitous, it seems. When I move to a new city, there is no way for me to predict what will come next. The job market might be booming or it might be abysmal. My new roommates may be fun to hang out with or they might be disgusting pigs who leave a centimeter of grease caked onto the pans. My favorite bands might play ten minutes away from me, or they might skip my city altogether to play in Bumsfuck, ID.
The most unpredictable aspect of my journey, though, is the weather. I’ve spent time in every climate in the contiguous United States, whether it be tropical New Orleans, or marine Seattle, Sunny Southern California or frigid Chicago. But I’ve been lucky. In the entire span of my 10 year project, I have yet to face the wrath of a major storm.
10 Cities / 10 Years began in the summer of 2005, the same summer that New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I was 700 miles away in Charlotte where the storm system barely made a blip. When Superstorm Sandy devestated the Northeast in the fall of 2012, I was down in New Orleans. For almost every city I’ve lived in, the year before or the year after I arrive seems to result in a near catastrophic storm (you’re welcome).
I haven’t missed everything. I was living in Seattle in 2012 when one of the biggest blizzards in recent history hit the area. While Seattle did get its share of snow and the city was largely disrupted because the locals didn’t know how to drive on the stuff, for the most part I was unaffected. In 2007, while I was living in Costa Mesa, Southern California had a series of wildfires that forced the governor (Arnold) to declare a state of emergency. From my apartment I could see the smoke, but it never reached anywhere close enough to be a worry to me.
And then there was the summer I moved to New Orleans. Hurricane Isaac hit the United States on Wednesday morning, the 29th of August. It caused widespread flooding and power outages throughout the south, including in a small neighborhood named St. Roch where I was set to move on Saturday. My future roommate suggested that I put off my move but that’s not how my project works. I was set for the 1st, I was going to arrive on the 1st.
As longtime readers might recall, it wasn’t pleasant. In the wake of Isaac’s passing, the city was bathed in 100% humidity with temperatures easily in the triple digits. No electricity meant no air conditioning and five minutes after stepping out of the shower I was soaked in sweat yet again. Two days later when the power came on, my roommate and I literally hugged each other we were so happy.
Despite those close calls, though, I would still say I’ve had a fairly lucky run of moves.
Last year at this time, I was living in Allston, the college student-infested hub of Boston. We had a lot of snow and it was very cold, but for the most part it was an average winter. This year… poor, poor Boston, buried in mounds of snow and more still on the way. I hear my friends are getting to work via the Iditarod.
I’m sure a lot of my ‘fortune’ is due to perception bias. Some part of this country is going to get hit by a major storm every year, no matter what. I just happen to notice when it hits a place I’ve lived or am planning on living.
But I still feel lucky. It’s possible that in this, my final year, New York City could get pummeled by a massive blizzard. But so far, while I can see a few fluffy flakes gently floating to the ground outside my window, a mere 200 miles away, Beantown is getting a decade’s worth of powder.
I guess there is no other conclusion to come to other than, New York City is safe as long as I’m still living here.
Or, maybe next year the big storm will come for us.
You know, I should probably start planning a trip now…