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January 13, 2012
These Aren't Hippies
People told me I'd love Boulder, and it quickly shattered expectations. It's normal to walk, run, and bike everywhere, making it the fittest city in the U.S., full of attractive, energetic, willful, and positive people.
I came to Boulder during the annual Shakespeare festival, a beacon for all locals who love the arts and the potential of communication, more spirit than mind, with desire to take potential to its limits to uncover possibilities.
There are hints of the hippie lifestyle with legal marijuana dispensaries, but I haven't been able to find anyone who admits to using them or even being very aware of what that culture is in Boulder. Just as odd, there are a few extremist health food stores that only sell left handed apples picked by crippled orphans, drawing enough devoted customers to stay in business without being obvious mob money laundering operations.
On the surface there are plenty of people with crazy hairstyles and colors, wild piercings, and unusual makeup, but scratch the surface and you find they are just middle class college degreed youth with absurd uniforms. They mark themselves to announce distinction from the previous generation, screaming to not be measured with the same yardstick and grouped in with the wreck that proceeded them. So what type of world are they making?
Boulder's predominant characteristic is a compelling culture of excellence. Its cuisine favors demonstrations of experimentation, both sensible and interesting, careful to avoid cliches while using local offerings in unexpected but harmonious arrangements. There is even a battle to get high quality vegetables to market for an extended growing season, and to maintain tight ties with farms for fresh meat, with the most serious restaurants even taking ownership of their sources.
Colorado has a long craft beer history, which itself is a statement of dissatisfaction with the quality of generic quantity-centric factory beer, and a counterrevolution of high standard brewing. Local microbrews compete with friendly judgment and criticism of one another, keeping one other sharp and inspiring the Munich of the West, an inspiration now overflowing into artisan whiskeys.
Boulder also takes coffee seriously, rivaling Seattle with joy instead of depression, creating a climate in which each cafe competes to craft better espresso. Indie shops dominate, making it easy to find a great cup almost anywhere you happen to be.
All this and more because they didn't want to be mistaken for their parents.
Next: Aphorisms: Belief, Uncertainty, Action
     
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