Chill: the cornerstone in the Mile-High City


That’s the word that describes Denver folks.

It’s remarkable, really, the chill that’s in the air for a metro region of this size and population. It’s unlike anything I’ve observed or experienced before.


I feel it but can’t quite define it. It’s Laid Back meets Being in Present Moment meets Enjoyment.

But not laid back in the Oregon dropout hippie way. More in the Texas way.

Denver just doesn’t seem stressed out.

Chill. And if indeed I’ve honed in on the critical (key) cornerstone, then it explains a lot that I’ve been picking up and observing.

What I’ve been struck by in the first week, in order of observation:

(1) Speed and tailgating.

When I arrived in Colorado along Interstate-70, the question in my mind was: Why are Coloradoans in such a hurry? They drive fast and they tailgate – A LOT; leaving one car length while traveling 75 or 80 mph isn’t uncommon. Even on the mountain pass. I’d bet money that fender-benders and insurance claims are big business in Colorado.

(2) Complexions. Healthy. Clear. Rosy. Must be the clean air and outdoor living.

(3) Clean air. Clean dry air.

In one short week, I’ve already noticed my health improving, my bones chilled and dampened by the Pacific Northwest drying out and warming up, and my joints aching less.

Definitely dig it!

(4) Fitness and trim figures.

It’s been a long while since I lived in a place where trim figures and proper body weights were the norm; that was in Japan. I’m quite struck by the preponderance of both here in Denver, where the fat rather than the slim person stands out in the crowd.

I suspect this can be attributed to both outdoor living and attention to healthful eating. Denverites I think like to be on the move. Engaged. Active. Sloth and gluttony do not hang heavy in the air.

(5) They enjoy life. They enjoy their play.

Perhaps even insist on it, demand it, expect it. There’s a sense of “we work so we can play” in the air. Arbeit macht frei is not a concept invented or embraced by Denverites.

(6) All things considered — i.e., speed and tailgating — they are better drivers than Seattleites/Pacific Northwesterners.

More attentive. More adept. More skilled. Especially in inclement weather. The driving responses in inclement weather — to date, torrential rains that severely reduce visibility — are noticeably superior to those in Seattle, where despite being a wet rainy climate drivers are stupid and panicked. Toss a smattering of snowflakes into the equation and the sky’s certainly falling. Western Washingtonians are weather wussies.

Better driving and most importantly ATTITUDE while driving in variable conditions are one of the reasons I picked Denver. I did good.

(6) And the biggest and most pleasant surprise: Despite being green and fairly progressive/liberal, Denver does not jam it down your throat like Seattle (a fair comparison).

I reckon this can be attributed to numerous factors, including Colorado’s deeper conservative/Republican roots/history and some kind of disdain for being told what to do and how to live.

Seattleites have convinced themselves, and a small percentage of the population outside the region, that they and/or their city is the best thing since sliced bread. Arrogance and snottiness definite Seattle.

Denverites needn’t convince anyone. They live it. And they live it well. Because they live well.

Again, my initial impressions of the Denver milieu. Subject to revising and refining as I move along.


That’s the cornerstone in the Mile-High City, the word that’s here to stay.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. fotografzahl
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 18:35:18

    Very interesting report!
    Eager to read more about your observations of your new surroundings…


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