Monday, June 19, 2006

This Should Tick Off The Natives

All right, Colorado Natives. This one's for you.

I've lived in Colorado for 5 years, 1 month and 19 days. I love it here. I love it that it snows in the late spring and it can be 80 degrees the next day. I love it that traffic is "bad" when it slows down a little. I love it that the people are, for the most part, so darn nice. And they mean it too.

But the one thing that gets me (and I know this happens elsewhere too) is the "I was here first so you should leave" syndrome that locals get after they've been somewhere a generation or two.

I am, by birth, a wanderer. I was born in Brazil to wandering parents, who were from Michigan and Oregon. They brought me "home" to the States when I was five, and I went to several schools before I graduated from college -- but not as many as the average Army brat.

Nonetheless, I moved a lot. I lived in Oregon, Washington (3 different places), then moved here to Colorado at the request of my spouse, who had come here years earlier for grad school and fell in love with Colorado, and Denver in particular.

But today, as my stuffy head and I were driving on a quick errand, I noticed another one of those blasted bumper stickers:

I know this started back in the 1980s, and now there are several cutesie responses to this, but this "Native" thing is a bit provincial, dontcha think? WHO really is a native? Not me. And I'm betting, not you either. Unless you are Native American (and by that I mean 100% Native American, not some fraction), you can't complain, in my book.

I have a co-worker who honestly believes that somehow, she's more deserving of living here and breathing the rarified Colorado air, simply because she was born in some hick town outside of Grand Junction. And I know there are many like her.

This particular person complains about the traffic, says things about the snowstorm of 1981 that can't possibly be true, and in a not-so-subtle way, thinks that most of us non-local, non-"native" types should leave her alone so traffic wasn't so bad. But then, she has never lived in another big city, so her comparisons are often just plain wrong -- since she really doesn't have a clue what it's like in other cities, and how much worse off it is in other places. Yes, traffic continues to get thicker. It's a big city. In Denver, I can only say you're lucky it isn't worse, and that it didn't happen sooner.

But the bottom line to me is this: You can't have stagnation and growth at the same time, and you can't have growth and not have growing pains. The planet is getting more crowded, and being one of the most pleasant places I've landed so far, I can see why people would choose Denver. Whether I landed today or 20 years ago is irrelevant as to whether I have a right to be here and take up space. We ALL take up space, and we ALL have a right in this country (and the world for that matter) to do it where we please.

At least that's what I believe.


Teri said...

My dear friend -

First, I bequeath my Native Coloradoan status to you. You do love the and give the state and give it proper reverence. I enjoy my visits "home".

Second, I was there during that snowstorm - whatever is being said - is true.

Tammy said...

Well speaking as a Native (it counts that I was born there right? Even if I haven't lived there since I was, um... two???) you are welcome my friend, all all the others can go... well, anyway...

I have learned by living in a place not even close to looking or feeling like home, you know, the illegal alien stuff and all, is well... home is where you are...period.

annie said...

Great post, Jules.

It reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw when we were away at the Jersey Shore a few weeks ago.

"We're Not All Here on Vacation"

WTF If it weren't for us VACATIONERS .... Hmmmph!


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