Most of my posts about Boulder are flattering because I love living here. The quality of life is excellent, the scenery is beautiful, there’s lots to do, and the people are friendly. But, like anywhere, Boulder does have its share of self-righteous blowhards and general asshats. And I’m just as willing to write about the bad parts of being here (as few as there are) as the good. So, here is part two of a post I wrote a long, long time ago. I’m sure you know some people in your town just like the ones I’ve described here.
The Good: I belonged to a slow running group two summers ago. One night, our posse of five regulars was running in the Wonderland Lake area and then along some of the side streets. As we ran down a main artery, an elderly woman drove up to the stop sign at the intersection we were approaching. Since we were on the main road, we had the right of way and she had a stop sign. However, she never stopped. She was moving very slowly, probably no more than five miles an hour, but continued creeping out into the road as we were running across.
Me, being me, threw my arms up and shouted, “Do you plan on stopping at some point, lady? What the hell!” or something similar to that.
The woman got all flustered , slammed on her brakes, and started looking around, obviously very confused. Then she apologized through her open window and said she couldn’t see anything because the sun was in her eyes. An older woman in my group then ran up to her window and started apologizing back for my outburst, telling her what happened was no big deal and it was okay.
Ummm…no it wasn’t. It wasn’t okay. It was a problem. If she couldn’t see the huge red stop sign and five runners, I’d say she was a massive danger to us and anyone walking down the street. I’m giving this woman from my running group the “good” ranking because she thinks she’s doing the right thing. But this is one of my biggest beefs with Boulder—people not calling out other people who are clearly, 100 percent in the wrong and believing anger at other people is never justified. Some things are a big deal and some people need to be scolded or criticized. I have no idea what good it does to tell an old woman who should probably have her drivers license revoked not to worry that she almost just ran her car into five people.
The Bad: One night, I was walking Trotsky down the sidewalk of my lightly trafficked road on which there is a dedicated bike lane. Trotsky doesn’t walk so much as sniff excessively. He had stopped to inspect a bush, standing perpendicular to the sidewalk so his body blocked the whole path, when a cyclist came up behind us. Now, had this been another walker, I would have pushed Trotsky aside to let the person pass. But as this was a cyclist who wasn’t supposed to be there and, again, had an unobstructed, ice-free, dedicated bike lane to use, I didn’t move Trotz or hurry him along at all. I said nothing. She said nothing.
After 20 seconds or so, Trotsky finished his investigation and we continued. I walked as I normally would, on the right side of the sidewalk with plenty of room for someone walking on the other side to pass. Well, I guess this chick wasn’t confident enough in her cycling skills to pass in that space, so she continued on painfully slowly behind us. After another 20 seconds or so, we came to a space where the sidewalk opened up to the width of three sidewalks at the front of a large residential building. Here, the cyclist finally passed us. After she was about 10 feet ahead of us, she passive-aggressively dinged her bicycle bell twice.
The Ugly: One day, Trotsky and I were doing one of his long poop-loops down Pearl from our house to 15th Street, where Pearl becomes a no-dogs-allowed pedestrian mall. Our routine is to turn down 15th at that point and head back home up Walnut. We were on Pearl between 16th and 15th, shown on the map below, before the no dog/no car zone, which starts where Pearl is marked by the green line on the map below.
That’s where the following encounter occurred.
Random old man in a stupid and condescending sing-songy voice, “Uh-oh, no dogs allowed on the Pearl Street Mall.”
I turn around slowly and then speak just as slowly since I already realize I’m dealing with a simpleton. “We’re. Not. On. The. Mall.”
Him stating the obvious because apparently I look like some kind of idiot, “But it’s straight ahead.”
Me, unamused by this moron interrupting my pleasant walk with his mansplaining, “Uh-huh.”
Nosy old bastard, “Just want to make sure you understand the rules, miss.”
To which he got all in a huff and started squawking to his wife about how offensive I was. Yeah.
Unlike other people in this town, I’m not afraid to call it like I see it. Fortunately, the times its necessary are few and far between, and that’s why I live here.