Now can we all just shut up about it?

Imagine for a moment you’re 8 years old again. You and your best friend have just built the most intense fort that’s ever been assembled in the history of the planet. There’s a main entry secured by a faded bed sheet — Transformers or Lisa Frank, whatever, it smells like pee anyways. You’ve never been so proud of anything in your whole life.

Then Clint, the asshole kid from down the street with the hot mom and abusive dad, comes through and punches it until it’s just a pile of dirty laundry. He kicks and claws, destroying an entire afternoon’s worth of work for his own satisfaction. His pleasure seems short-lived, and now the three of you are sitting around staring at one another wondering what to do now. The fort is in ruins, now what?

That’s kind of what the past 4 or 5 years has been like in Colorado. Some of us, me specifically, have been here our whole lives, and remember a time when things were completely different than what they are now. It’s hard to give that up, to force ourselves to be cool with letting go. It isn’t easy, and the sentiment isn’t going away anytime soon.

Because unbeknownst to you, there was a time when traffic wasn’t all that bad anywhere in the state. We had some confusion back in the day when I-25 was widened (dubbed “TRex”), but any kind of congestion that happened then pales in comparison to any kind of city driving now. When a commute goes from a 15-minute pounce down the highway to a 45-minute crawl — sure, it sucks.

And remember Clint, the asshole kid who rips things down? That’s like the developers coming in and literally tearing apart our history to accommodate another crappy apartment complex. There isn’t a block in this state that doesn’t have some sort of construction going on right now. Some of these buildings meant something to us. We would rather have had them preserve at least something before turning the buildings into another yoga studio or over-priced brunch spot.

Who can even afford living here now? When I was 18, I paid $530 a month to live on 16th and Wynkoop, by myself. Now you have to stack 6 filthy dudes on top of one another just to get by. Even then, you’re still paying out the yang for living costs, parking, transportation, entertainment and other realities. Because we’ve become the ‘cool’ place to be, we’ve also become one of the most expensive in the nation.

So there’s going to be some pissed off people, I hate to tell you, and their anger is going to be directed at whoever is closest and easiest to beat up. And you’re going to have local media outlets fueling the fire for clicks, because it embraces an emotional chord and general sentiment felt by many. It doesn’t seem like the “Native vs. Transplant” bullshit will ever stop.

But don’t feel bad for moving here. Can anybody blame you? Just know that we’re going through a pretty extreme crisis right now and there are specific entities to blame for the chaos. We’re all adjusting at this point.

The Colorado I’ve always known, though, has been inclusionary. Many types of people over the course of the 30 years I’ve been alive have had no issues bonding with one another. Aside from that Focus on the Family shithole to the south, we’ve always been about unifying demographics, allowing others general freedoms and protecting the rights of the individual (except maybe Boulder, but … that’s Boulder).

If there’s someone mad at you for moving here, tell them to fuck off. It’s a pretty tired and misguided ideal that people can’t live where they want. None of us ‘own’ Colorado. You didn’t change addresses with a malicious intent to disrupt an entire city. Most of us know this — it’s the select few who make everyone else look bad.

So what do you, Clint and me do now? Rebuild the fuckin’ fort and make it twice as good as it ever was — be proud of a community we build instead of something the past left behind. The quicker we stop the bickering between one another, the faster we get to hoisting up the pee blanket again in triumph.

Now can we all just shut up about it?