Ever since I moved to Boulder I haven't been able to escape commentary about "living in the bubble," and "the Republic of Boulder." Sometimes it's said with a smirk, like it's supposed to be an insult--talking smack about how Boulder is too small, or on its own planet. But I happen to like living in the bubble. In fact, I LOVE IT and fine, maybe I will marry it. Because here's the thing: I actually like running into people I know around every corner.
First of all, I like having friends. Weird, right? I mean, who likes to be surrounded by people who care about them and smile often and engage them in warm conversation? I can go have a cappuccino at The Cup and say hi to Thai, and then have some delicious gelato at Two Spoons and watch for people I know walking by at lunch. I can sit by the creek and pick up some extra motivation to go running before I decline and catch an impromptu happy hour at The Westend instead. Not a bad life, eh?
Second, there is more of a close-knit camaraderie that can be established in a smaller community. It's easier to get things done, make big things happen, and share knowledge and experience for the good of the people. People are far more likely to help out their neighborhood so-and-so who remembers their name than Joe Schmoe harassing them on the street. And big things do happen in Boulder--awards for culinary success, tech studs (and studettes), amazing road races, free conferences, killer film festivals, examples in eco-sustainability, to name a few.
The Flatirons are not the reason our little bubble ends up on the top of so many Best Of lists, the people are. We are the Republic of Easy-Going Eccentricity, of Microbrews and Macro Views, of the Greener Side of the Fence. It's easy getting into the bubble; it's the leaving that's the hard part.