Tales of a 21st Century Gypsy

November 17, 2004 Boulder, CO

I returned from Asia to the comfortable community of Boulder, Colorado. I have a friend there, someone I met twenty years ago in graduate school, and whom Iíve become better friends with since then thanks to many trips to Colorado for work. In the mid-1990s I was privileged to be part of an Aspen Institute project, which brought a group of us to Aspen every three months for a year and a half. I never quite fit into the project, and they didnít have much use for an opinionated talkative New Yorker, but it was interesting. And it gave me the opportunity to swing by Boulder on a regular basis.

Boulder might be a place where I could live. Or maybe thatís because staying at Davidís house is so easy? He goes to work, I go to the gym or take my laptop to the neighborhood coffee house. Sometimes we hang around his living room working on our respective computers, or playing joint games of spider. David doesnít seem to mind my cluttering up his guest bedroom and planting my laptop in his living room for extended periods. He did seem slightly disconcerted when his new girlfriend told me things she hadnít told him, but thatís okay. Sometimes I tag along on gatherings with his friends, or we take excursions to exciting places like Costco or the nearby organic supermarket. Occasionally we compare notes about mutual friends, though David isnít as much of a gossip as I am. Itís very congenial. I canít decide if weíre like brother and sister or like an old married couple sitting on our rocking chairs.

Boulder is congenial too. Itís not quite a real city, but it is full of interesting people. Good coffee houses with free wifi. A nice Y, and a nice community rec center with a good pool. Lots of bookstores. Easy to get around on a bike. Lots and lots of westies. Like any American city itís surrounded by miles and miles of horrible sprawling subdivisions, but even thatís a bit better than in some places because of the cityís decision a long time ago to purchase open space as a protection against sprawl. The kayaking isnít much good, though there is the Rocky Mountain Sea Kayak Club to stave off total withdrawal. If David werenít there I wouldnít think of moving there, and Iím not thinking of settling anywhere yet anyway, but it is on my list.

I returned from Vietnam later than planned, and stayed in Boulder longer than Iíd I expected after my return. I had to see a dentist, and I had to fix the water tank intake hose on my van again, and I had to finish my report on Vietnam. I got lots of emails from Vanagon folks telling me how wonderful Boulder is, that I should go to the Trident (coffee house where David and his friends spend lots of time), that I had to walk along the Boulder mall (been there done that Ė though I was amused to find that I could tap into five different wifi systems sitting on a bench in the middle of the mall). I didnít do anything organized, just got a bit of work done and ran errands, swam laps and puttered around. It was nice.

But my delay in leaving cut into my travels in the southwest. I had decided before I went to Asia that I didnít want to miss another family event, having missed Passover in New York last spring. So I bought a plane ticket to fly east from Phoenix, figuring thereíd be plenty of time to get from Boulder to Phoenix. Iím not one for driving fast, and since the point of my travels is the journey, not the destination, I didnít want to tear across New Mexico and Arizona just to catch a plane. If Iíd known how things would go I would have bought a ticket out of Denver instead of Phoenix. Oh well, hindsight is 20-20. Reluctantly I packed up my van and headed south out of Boulder towards the south.

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