After many years in Chicago—a town I like to affectionately called the Cement Jungle—I moved to Boulder for its beauty and soulful people. Before that I lived in San Francisco. As you can imagine, I’m used to living in pretty BIG cities. Big cities where you often will meet someone and then never see them again. Even though they may live in the same neighborhood as you. In fact, I can’t tell you how many people I knew who lived in my neighborhood who I never saw. I mean literally. Never. Saw. Same neighborhood. Same few haunts. Never saw them. This made life easy in some ways. Didn’t like someone? No worries—they could easily fall off the face of your earth. Said something stupid to someone? Just pretend you have no idea who they are and walk right by them as a nameless, faceless person in the crowd. Moving to a small(ish) city of around 100,000 (give or take the college students) has been quite a different experience. I’m not good at math but that must be less than 1 percent of the number of people in my former city. It’s quite an adjustment. People rarely fall off the face of your earth here. Nope they come back. Again. And again. When you want them to. And even more so when you don’t. This makes “breaking up” (with a friend, a person you dated or even a company) a bit more complicated. You can’t just avoid their part of the city and expect to never see them again. It’s also hard to pretend you don’t know them when they’re sitting next to you or across from you in the café. When you’re driving in traffic you think twice about giving the bird to an irritating driver. Not that I ever did that in Chicago of course. Living in a small(ish) town also makes you much more careful about what you say and do. This is a hard, but good thing.
On the plus side, people are very welcoming in my new adopted home city. Maybe they figure that there are only a limited number of us so it pays to be nice. And, once you’ve met a few people they’re happy to introduce you to their friends so pretty soon you have a booming circle of friends and business contacts. You can easily keep track of the events going on around town and people’s names in a smaller city.
After nearly 9 months in my new city nestled up against the mountains I think I’m finally adjusting to living in a small-ish town. One of my dearest friends lives in a teeny mountain town of 2,000 just west of Boulder. While I like to visit I’m pretty sure I won’t be moving there--at least not right now. I’ve got enough to handle adjusting to my own small(ish) town.
For the two people who are reading this...thank you. And, if I say something stupid, you can pretend you don't know me the next time you see me. Or better yet, pretend I didn’t say what I did and say hello. After all, we do live in a small(ish) town—we gotta stick together.