Much as I love this place, it's good that I only spend about five-six days at a time here. It's short enough that all the things that drove me batshit insane when I actually lived here are reduced to endearing quirks, and long enough that I actually remember those things, and thus don't quit my job, sell my place and move back immediately.
A combination of geography, climate, altitude, and the most over-educated populace in America make Boulder unique and appealing -- and often aggravating. I've mentioned before that a sense of unreality pervades, and that when I left I felt like I was slingshotted into adulthood. Peter Pan had to become a man. For a lot of those who haven't left, it's forever that way.
Nowhere save New York, DC, London will you find people more aware of world events than in Boulder -- and nowhere will you find people more disconnected. The aforementioned geography, in a valley protected by mountains with only a few paths to the outside, breeds insularity, a simplistic and judgmental view of the outside world, everything in black and white. There's a peculiarly blue-nosed humorless liberalism here -- when just about everyone around thinks the same way, it's easy to think that anyone who thinks differently is evil or misguided. Left-leaning though I am, some of it just excites the contrarian in me -- the signs proclaiming stores "hate-free businesses," for example. It would perhaps be braver if there were some pro-hate businesses in town; and would perhaps mean more if Boulder weren't the epitome of liberal white flight.
Many of the city's more admirable traits provoke similar negative reactions -- I don't know if the city's "environmental police" are still around, but for chrissakes, environmental police? (they were more aimed at quelling loud parties, I think, but still -- environmental police tooling around town in green vehicles was a pretty ridiculous sight) And the anti-growth laws would be more impressive if motivated by genuine benevolence rather than, as I suspect, elitism and property values.
God, I really do love it here, and would someday love to move back permanently (I figure I can still gain acceptance as a Boulderite -- I've been gone for six and a half years, sure, but I've also spent 2/3 of my life here). I just think it would be beneficial for the city's residents to, y'know, get a little dirt under their fingernails. Maybe live in Atlanta for six months of the year. I'll happily housesit while they're away.