I live in Boulder county, Colorado. Not boulder itself, but about a 20-25 minute drive east. We’ve seen at least 10% equity growth on our houses for the last 4 years and it’s still going. The penalty for such rapid growth and seriously low unemployment? Having to see the demographic change. I’m unsure how good that is.
Many fear change. I’m a progressive but I do like to get used to something before it’s gone. I like my downtown turning from half vacant shop fronts and pawn shops into an enjoyable and thriving downtown. I like seeing the town organizing outdoor events and fun atmospheres. I like the neighborhoods of old houses actually well taken care of and pleasant to drive through. What I’m not digging is that the rapid growth is faster than the town can adjust. Boulder cannot build out into protected land, but only up and even then, it’s height limited - no skyscrapers. So anyone moving in finds either a $650,000 three-bedroom house not near town or they move to a bedroom community; my town.
Don’t worry, I’m bringing up cars.
I now avoid main street (the main north-south artery through town) because it’s become crowded and with the stop lights, never gets moving well enough to ever hit a few green lights in a row; that’s not during rush hour. I now take the side streets of neighborhoods. The highway connecting us to boulder is one of the maddest rush hour adventures of late. For a while, I used to see stickers on most trucks and some other cars picturing the Colorado license plate with the word Native printed. I get it now.
Should anyone be an aggressive driving or fully inconsiderate asshole, swerving between lanes and traffic, parking asshatly or of the type complaining that they aren’t allowed to destroy a mountain so they can build their dream house, I will bet money on it that they own an out of state plate 92% of the time; 50% a California plate. Along with that is the real point. The change in car culture with the change in the city culture.
Only 10 years ago, everyone had a Subaru or a Tacoma with the occasional Audi sprinkling. Today, I see quite a few Maserati’s and Porsche SUV’s and Jaguars with popping exhaust. Car culture? Sure, we got it. I even saw a Mclaren orange Mclaren at a small diner a while back and I saw a few trust fund CU students in Lambo’s, dude. We always liked our cars out here, but what I’m seeing now is attached, I hate to say it, to moron owners.
I mean moron in not the judgemental way, but in a where the fuck do you think you are way. I love biscuits and gravy but I’m not going to slam my fist down on the counter in Japan and demand my biscuits and gravy breakfast there. However, I guess this is what is coming. Everyone want’s to be here and will bring what they only know as their system in tow, demand to build ugly homes in protected areas on mountain sides and screw up the view for everyone else. So what is really more American than going somewhere different and demanding it become what your home town is like? So should I or we be angry at the changing culture inherent with regional economic success? I don’t know, that would be getting angry at American values, wouldn’t it?
It makes me feel older, but I’m 43 and perhaps this is how I’m supposed to feel. I don’t want to feel like grandpa chasing kids out of his yard. So, go ahead and bring whatever you bring, just not into my back yard and don’t fuck up my biscuits and gravy, I like this recipe.
How’s your regional growth and success changing your daily life?