Driving in Boulder, Colorado, is like bad sex with a random stranger. You just want to get from point A to point B when suddenly you realize you are trapped in pavement purgatory and there is no getting off.
Contrary to bad sex, there is no fluid exchanged, except for the spit you’ve splayed all over your dashboard and windows shouting profanities at the stoner trustafarian in front of you who doesn’t know if the gas pedal is the brake or the turn signal is the radio dial.
No matter what time of day you venture out, bikers and buses flood the shoulders of the narrow highways making you feel squeezed between two very large and in charge gay dudes backed up against you in ass-less chaps at a Brittany Spears concert where the crowd is shouting, “Hit me, baby, one more time.”
Yes, I used to live in the Castro in San Francisco where big burly gay dudes in ass-less chaps was a nightly occurrence.
Boulder isn’t as dynamic or colorful as San Francisco.
Every morning in Boulder is the same.
I leave the house with one purpose in mind: CAFFEINE.
Of course if I were a wiser person I would caffeinate before I left the house, but I find that kind enlightened thinking robs me of how much I love standing in line and paying for caffeinated beverages at Starbucks on Broadway and University.
It’s rare that Starbucks does me wrong and for all my New York peeps and socially evolved friends who have tried to convert me to Bhakti Chai or Third Street in the name of supporting locals instead of corporations, I still prefer chai that doesn’t taste like my grandmother’s medicine cabinet, thank you very much.
Tazo chai RULES, pass it on.
As I mosey along the painfully slow highways were the speed limit won’t legally allow me to take it passed 30, I can’t let my guard down for a second.
Motorcycle cops and police cars (especially at night) hide in dark alleys or in between trees, just waiting to slap you with a citation the second your brain drifts onto autopilot.
Dazed and barely coherent, I don’t see the cop in time to tap the brake before the red and blue lights fire up.
Getting pulled over reminds me of my mother catching me masturbating as a child. I immediately feel dirty. I know I’ve done something wrong in eyes of the punisher, but somewhere in the back of my mind I am running down the list of justifications of why what I did isn’t all that bad.
Even though no wildlife or runners were in emanate danger of getting mowed down by taking it up to 40, it’s the law that I must take responsibility for the space cadet inside my head who is too busy singing the new JT song instead of paying attention to the speed limit sign as I pass by.
Maybe it’s time to take up meditation.
There is no arguing with the police in Boulder, I’m just another cha chang in the department of traffic’s desperate need to meet a quota. Even though I am pissed as hell I’m getting blasted with a $140.00 citation for going less than 10 miles over the snail limit, the police officer doesn’t hesitate to send me on my way with a positive affirmation, “Don’t let something like this ruin your day.”
As if optimism outweighs the fact that I just got ramrodded before I’ve properly caffeinated.
He must be a Buddhist.
Life is suffering. It’s the first noble truth. How silly of me to forget.
Maybe if I drove a more eco-conscious car like a Prius instead of a BMW SUV then the officer might have taken pity on my precious pocket book.
But let’s face it—no one ever feels sorry for people who drive BEAMERS or those who pay for caffeine everyday. It’s only customary that a person with my pricey habits should go fart myself (that’s cable TV for fuck these days).
Today, by the time I make it to Starbucks, my blasted sanity is going to cost me $145.00. Maybe I should just brake down and buy that espresso machine with the foamer I need to froth my chai, but this is how I choose to express my mindless Americanism.
Reeling from the officer’s whimsical outlook I get back in the car and realize it’s not even 9 am and already I’ve been dosed with the kind of reality more bitter than espresso.
Nonetheless, I crawl back on the highway and begin to understand why Boulder drivers are so pensive and uptight, cause now I’m also driving like I have hemorrhoids.
The silence in my car is pervasive, so I turn on some tunes hoping to officer’s advice will kick in. I still have the WHOLE day ahead of me.
Just as I get dialed the roundabout approaches.
I have the right away, but the guy in the Nissan CUBE clearly hasn’t had coffee either, cause he is hell bent on showing off his mad donut skills as he circles and circles the roundabout wondering which way is west.
I watch his little box car in amazement, all the while wondering if the person who designed the CUBE was a big time fan of Star Wars, cause that ride is dead ringer for Darth Vader’s helmet.
Seriously, google it now, you will get a good chuckle.
It’s not my fault I am a child of the 80’s and see Rick Moranis in SpaceBalls as the dude in the CUBE finally irons out which direction he’s headed.
My brain is hardwired to make associations, man.
Now people are honking at me, but before I can go I have to slam on my breaks again.
There is a dad pushing a hot pink BOB in some male version of booty shorts. Those tight little shorts could rival the look of Richard Simmon’s, except this dude takes the cake. Tightly strapped into dark black Teva’s are basketball player white socks pulled halfway up the calve. As if that weren’t bad enough, the dude is pounding a diet coke.
As he strolls his little blond curly haired child across the street I cannot help but wonder if he has sex with his socks on or if he keeps a mini fridge of diet coke next to his night stand of neatly pressed booty shorts?
Whatever the truth is, I am happy as hell I am not the one he calls, “Sugar Pop.”
Unless you have diabetes there is no excuse for diet anything.
And, the white socks with Teva’s, that shit is just creepy.
Nevermind the Richard Simmons shorts, his package is the only thing making up for the fact he looks like a total doucher.
Someone is honking at me again, and I finally tap the gas.
All this insanity makes me want to pick my nose.
Don’t judge, everyone has crusties in the morning.
So, I start digging.
Suddenly, a flash goes off.
Before I can see the white van in my rear view with the ginormous flash I realize I have no flippin clue as to how fast I was going this time.
Those fucking vans are like stealth bombers armed with sarin gas. They’ll mess your shit up, every damn time.
Californians are heavy on the gas and could give two shits about speed limits or stop signs, hence the California stop, which is equivalent to a drive by shooting in Boulder.
I cannot take full responsibility for my driving habits; I don’t belong here for God’s sake.
I belong in California where cops have bigger fish to fry.
If you get pulled over in California, you were going 80 in a 20.
Californian cops would way rather bust Mexican drug dealers than be on beat patrol.
As I roll through the stop sign distracted by that attack van that caught me in the act, I begin to wonder about this force standing in my way of Starbucks.
No measure of music or scenery can cure me now, just a Venti Chai, that is my ticket to salvation. It will make all this bad juju right as rain.
A lifetime later I finally arrive at Starbucks and think I have hit victory when I see a spot right up front—that has a red scooter taking up the SPOT!
Of course there is a scooter in a spot big enough for a car.
I circle around the block looking for quick parking, but there is only metered parking.
Even with metered parking, the spot is far away.
I go look for my wallet and realize that in my slightly lucid state I have, in fact, forgotten my wallet.
I rip apart my car searching for change.
Please tell me I have 5 dollars. Please tell me.
Sure enough, I scrounge $4.50. Just enough for what I need.
There is a GOD.
But, now, I have no money to pay the meter.
At this point I decide to risk it.
So I run.
The Starbucks staff knows me, I come in every morning with bed head.
My favorite barista makes me my Venti Chai and I smile, thanking her a bagillion times on the way out the door.
I don’t bother running back to my car. I have my Chai now.
After the morning sun gets out of my eyes, I spot a meter man (he’s a meter man not a parking attendant) swipe a white piece of paper from his little handheld device and put a parking ticket on my windshield.
At this point I am laughing like a drunk.
The meter man is caught off guard and decides to share a laugh at my crass sense of humor.
Apparently he has never been met with hysterical laughter while ticketing someone.
He’s not bad looking except for the cargo shorts, combat boots, and sunglasses my step dad would wear.
We chat for a few minutes and I get to thinking about the kind of guy that would choose a meter man profession.
Was he abused as a child?
Did he get picked on?
My amusing thoughts lead me to ask him, “So, you have a girlfriend?”
He blushes, “No.”
Without uttering another word I get into my Beamer and flash him a smile, the kind of smile that relays the voice in my head that keeps saying, “I am not surprised dude.”
When you least expect it there is divine justice in the world.
As I drive off the scenario that plays in my mind comforts me on my way home.
Imagining the meter man on a blind date where the women asks him what he does for work?
Can you imagine having the hots for some dude and finding out he’s a meter man?
Talk about a ding in your wha…
How could you sleep with a guy like that and then tell your friends?
Everyone would laugh at you, or at least I would.
The moral of the story is whether it’s the diet coke, socks with Teva’s, or citing people for a living, I take comfort in knowing that my karma is not nearly as messed up as other people’s.
I might have $200.00 in parking tickets before 10 am, but at least I am not a cop, I don’t drive a Subaru or a Prius, I don’t have a child with Richard Simmons, and I have never fucked a meter man.
On the way home, while I am toe jammed between the ugly ass Prius going 20 in a 30 and Subaru Outback whose Lesbian drivers only wish they were my burly gay dudes backed up against me in assless chaps, I flash a PEACE sign to all the other inhabitants in pavement purgatory, where my forefinger is full of empathy and my middle finger is flipping off the cosmic joke that is driving Boulder.
Peace. Love. Compassion for all beings, even the law breakers.
This is dedicated to all the wonderful people who work at Starbucks on University and Broadway. You’re my Hotel California.