From a Colorado native to a transplant: Your altitude problem is my attitude problem

Categories: Breeality Bites

As I was standing in line at the credit union yesterday afternoon, I was reminded that my home town is still a relatively small place -- if I want it to be. As I waited to cash my check, I overhead the woman in front of me say to the teller*, "You know, I could have made it to the grocery store today, but I didn't have the time or energy to go up the hill." (*The teller, Joyce, has been doing my banking since my mom opened up my account in 1980, when I was born. I don't even bring my ID in -- Joyce knows every single one of her clients by name.)

What stuck out to me was the "up the hill" portion of this meaningless exchange, because my mother (also a native) says things like this -- referring to I-25 as "the Valley Highway," shopping at "U-Hills" (University Hills) and Garts (now Sports Authority) -- all the time. Things that seem to suggest that Denver is a tiny place at the bottom of a mountain, a place with one traffic light and a creamery where everyone in town hangs out. A place still inhabited by people like her -- true Colorado/Denver natives.

I often refer to a place that no longer exists or catch myself giving directions that involve "the old Cinderella City," as if that means anything to anyone who's moved here since 1990. But just because I am from here and know everything there ever was to know about the last thirty years of Denver's lore/life doesn't mean I should hate the transplant population -- which, in 2012, makes up much of Colorado. Denver's getting big, and that's cool, right?

Maybe it's time for me to move to Los Angeles. And become the person I think I hate.




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9 comments
plpllawson
plpllawson

Denver is not your grandfathers Denver anynore. 

When Stapleton closed down it immediately killed what was the small town Denver area metroplex and the extraordinary environment of the front range  and turned it into the long awaited greedy real estate developers dream which will destroy it.

As Jethro Tull sang, 

God stole the handle andThe train won't stop going --No way to slow down.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Nothing like being proud of something you didn't do yourself.

phatherphoton
phatherphoton

I'm sure glad that my identity is not based on decisions my parents made before I existed.  Rather than reveling in ignorant tribalism, I take pride in the fact that I, as an adult, CHOSE Colorado to be my home.   The first 3 blissful years, which were over 21 years ago, were spent living at 10,200', so I certainly have no altitude problem!  Back then I had a license plate holder that said: "California by birth, Colorado by choice".

HPrynne
HPrynne

@westwordculture Not an asshole.Your just protective of your home town and wary of unworthy interlopers. Keep up the good work.

Gilbilly
Gilbilly

Altitude Sickness is a real thing.  It might not happen @ 5280ft. but it certainly happens at higher elevations.  I am a transplant but I can understand the native sentiment.  A bunch of people realized how nice Colorado is and decided to move here and in the process changed things, some for better, some for worse, just like how your parents or grandparents moved here and did the same thing.  I guess the trick is to appreciate the good things that have changed as much as lamenting the bad.

Cecil
Cecil

Well, this is some dull wankery.

jack
jack

People that go around touting they are colorado natives are usually self-centered, arrogant young white kids that feel entitled and think their opinions matter more than their peers.  Get over yourselves!

jennikoa
jennikoa

Thankfully most Natives don't share these sentiments. I'm a native and I embrace a lot of what is happening in Denver and Colorado. It is not decreasing the joys of living here in any way. And I welcome newcomers! The type of people this place draws are generally progressive, open-minded, outdoorsy, beer-loving folk seeking a life in a beauitful environment. It's not their fault they weren't born here. Why all the hate?

lodo16
lodo16

C'mon, what's the point??

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