Last week my family and I went for a drive. The excuse was a doctor’s appointment. The doctor was in Boulder so we loaded up our three kids and set off on the 30 minute drive to “The People’s Republic.” We live in neighboring Longmont, which is kind of like Orem, Utah, but with more Democrats, and better city planning. It still tends to skew pretty conservative and Longmont is probably the reason that Boulder County doesn’t elect Democrats every year.
I visited the doctor while my wife took the kids for a walk to a neighboring park. While chatting with the doctor, the conversation turned to schooling and he noted that when his family moved to Boulder from California, they automatically started looking at private schools on the assumption that the educational experience would be better. However, after enrolling his son, he quickly discovered that there is a bit of a different dynamic in Boulder than in other US communities. The public schools here are already top notch, which means that the private schools tend to attract a disproportionately large helping of ideological oddballs. Boulder is already a left-wing stronghold and the people there are highly individualistic. The private schools end up looking like some strange political reality TV show.
In his son’s private school, for instance, everyone, and I mean everyone, has both lactose intolerance and an allergy to wheat. I don’t consider a few cases particularly noteworthy, but when every child supposedly has it, it tells me less about the dietary needs of the kids and more that the parents are simply high-strung nutcases.
After a few more pleasantries, I set off to collect my own children. Misty had left directions to the park on the driver’s seat, which I of course ignored and set off to the park that I had spotted on the way in. It was a nice walk, wending its way through artificially preserved bird habitat and bordering several small (and horrendously expensive) houses. Xeriscaping seemed to be quite popular. Idly, I wondered how much debt some of the people had taken out to live in these houses and how they were coping. I knew that Boulder has some of the highest property values in the US….
Sometimes it’s a bit morbid being a bankruptcy attorney.
Upon reaching the playground, I found it deserted. Puzzled, I continued on around the lake. My family was nowhere to be found, and I concluded I must have missed them. I went back to the car where I found my wife and children. Misty exasperatedly told me that she had, in fact, taken the kids in the opposite direction to another nearby playground as clearly noted on the map she had left. A few sheepish apologies and we were off.
We decided, since we were already here, to take a bit of a drive around town. My kids are good travelers and my wife and I also enjoy the opportunity to chat freely as the scenery slips by. We took a southward loop around the University of Colorado campus. The college kids were descending upon the town again, and the roads were absolutely packed. We decided it was best to start heading back.
The girls were hungry, so we decided to drop by a supermarket and grab some doughnuts from the pastry aisle. As we drove up the central business thoroughfare, we kept our eyes peeled for a likely stop. I knew that Boulderites had long and vigorously opposed a Wal Mart opening up in their sanctuary, but surely an Albertsons, or a Safeway….
A quick turn into a strip mall revealed a chain bookstore, a Starbucks, and a Whole Foods organic supermarket with highly trim and stressed looking women marching purposefully in and out while hip looking couples sipped cappuccino on an open air terrace outside the store.
It didn’t look promising for doughnuts, so we drove on. Another likely spot, and again, no supermarket. Surely this place has at least one supermarket! Man doth not live by caffeine and alfalfa alone! A final turn-in revealed where a supermarket used to be, but now only an empty building.
Rather irritated, Misty and I decided to call it quits and return to the suburban wasteland from wence we came. My five year old daughter was looking puzzled at all the detours and asked “where are we going?”
“We’re going home sweety.”
“But why?” She had been expecting doughnuts since we had mentioned them.
“I’m sorry sweety. There are no doughnuts in Boulder.”
She took this rather philosophically. And I guess I did too.
It was a nice drive though. And there was an Albertsons, with doughnuts, in Longmont.