Finding Trouble in the 303

I write to you from Denver, which is in Colorado.

This city has always been good to me, mainly because it acts as the place of reunion for my old crew from college, with whom I share a special brand of nostalgia and penchant for mischief. My birthday is coming up. I know that is neither relevant to or cared about by any of you, but every year I make a habit of informing everyone that it is my birthday for a minimum of ten days in August.

Both Denver and Austin, where I live currently, have a reputation for being subtly cool and Bohemian and generally lacking in the pretension which has become synonymous with cities like New York and San Francisco (this is soon to change for both, as the thing to do these days is migrate from NY and SF to these cities). Call them metropolitan up and comers, nexuses of affordable living and alternative culture — hipster havens, if you will.

Expansion is something you hear about endlessly in places such as this. Uniform bitching regarding subjects like traffic and tourists and rent-hiking spreads at a rate comparable to that of the population itself. It’s all “gentrification” this and “corporate culture” that. Give it a rest already. This shit happens in every city where the equilibrium for quality of life and cost of living is ideal for growth. People move to places when they are cheap and desirable, at which point they cease to be either — not exactly a groundbreaking development.

Unwitting native Texans have been asking me the same inane fucking questions since being privy to my travel plans, all of which are drug related. “So are you gonna smoke a ton of weed while you’re there?”. No. I don’t know. Maybe. What’s it to you? I should specify that these are mainly strangers who’ve got no idea how to have a conversation about Colorado that doesn’t involve decriminalization, but the repetitive nature of it remains annoying all the same.

As far as the extracurriculars go, it’s my birthday, I’ll get high if I want to. For now, though, I’m focusing on appreciating a place in which urban sprawl and natural beauty are not mutually exclusive. Denver is desperately pretty any time of year, but I’m quite partial to the summers here. There is no predicting the weather or what it will lead to, and I love that.

The Rocky Mountains are inescapable, more benevolent titans than guardian angels; they offer a kind of infinite majesty that’s hard to find anywhere else in the States (if not impossible). I was once an avid rock climber, not as much anymore, but just having the option to get up there and risk my life on some treacherous precipice allows for a certain peace of mind.

My boys here are passionate souls, two of the best men I know. They dedicate themselves entirely to given pursuits for a given period, then have the courage to walk away from them when the time comes (women, work, whatever it may be). I believe that to be the primary catalyst to the bond of our friendship. Both possess qualities of strength and maturity which I have yet to, ones I sincerely hope some day to acquire.

One of them, a lifelong partner in crime from high school, is currently among the few people I know more obsessed with motorcycles than I am; he’s a damn sight better at riding than me, though. The other is a writer and poet, as devout a worshipper before the altar of words as myself — of course, it turns out he’s better at that than I am, too.

To say I’m on vacation would be inaccurate, because the few troubles and responsibilities I can claim are still present in my conscious. But these two make them less daunting, more manageable. They give me the confidence and self-assuredness to look the charging bull of adult life in the fucking eye and dare it to try me. I will never stop being grateful for that (or unworthy, if I’m honest).

Pointless grievances and thinly veiled pretension aside, I’m quite a fan of this hipster haven. Bring on the substance abuse and poor decision making. Let’s see what special brand of mischief and nostalgia is brought on by this weekend — which is my birthday, by the way. Have I mentioned that already?

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