Steeler Sundays in Boulder, CO

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Football, as with most televised sports, has long been something that I’ve looked at as little more than an inconvenience when attempting to watch the Simpsons every Sunday evening. However, as a loyal and loving son of Pittsburgh who wishes for nothing more than to keep as connected to greatest of Pennsylvanian homelands while not particularly ever actually wanting to live there again, I have grown accustomed over these past few years to watching Steelers games and reveling in my particular team doing whatever it seems to do against another city’s. On this particular, sunshining so gorgeously, Sunday morning I found myself a little bar called the Lazy Dog where I could watch just such a fiasco take place.

Sitting at the bar I was first joined–all of the heretoforwith mentioned people complete strangers at time of seating, mind you–by a late middle aged man dressed sharply and with silver white hair combed perfectly in place. He ordered a plate of nachos, a massive bowl of the things and proceeded instantly to invite me, a complete stranger, and the man to his other flank, to partake. The other man was younger, maybe late 30’s and looked like a pretty average Colorado man, wearing a Broncos hat, a Carhart jacket and a large smile on his face.

I asked the first man what he did for a living and he acknowledged that while he is a medical engineer by day–designing and developing all of those crazy gadgets that doctors now video game like drive into you when they need to look around rather than just cutting a big hole–he found his true passion resolved itself in his nightly pursuits: trading stock on the market. After a short conversation about how it all works, how I actually made a few bucks off of Apple and Google (thank God, I cashed them in just in time for not having any other cash to cash in!), and pondering the queries of whether or not stock marketing was wrong like gambling, if gambling even was wrong, he asked me what I did and the conversation of living in a bus came up. He himself had done the very same as a younger man, and the Colorado fellow to his other side bumped in and mentioned that he himself also has a bus, a Syncro, which apparently is a Vanagon with Four Wheel Drive. Heavy stuff.

So there we sat, three bus owners from very different walks of life and discussing our mutual interests over good local beers, nachos and the now playing Denver Broncos.

This was the beginning of the day, Sundays tending to be long and full of many modes, in fact, and it left me feeling good about humanity in general, after much debate over health insurance, morality and losing one of my new and favorite gloves. Later in the evening I found myself walking Pearl Street, a pedestrian only outdoor plaza of a place, part tourist trap part downtown Boulder, I believe, and listening to headphones I saw a very young girl with a guitar, the case to which sitting open in front of her collecting dollar bills. Her mother was there, a fellow 30 year cusper, I assumed, and both wore the clothing of middle class suburbia. The mother pointed at me and the little girl walked toward me. I removed my headphones.

“What are you listening to?” she asked.

“This is a couple of old country stars. Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash,” I informed her and she didn’t seem impressed.

“Do you want to hear a song?”

“I would love to,” and I sat on a bench across from the one she would soon begin playing a song by a guy named Raffi who for all I know could be some giant yellow bird or purple dinosaur type thing. Her fingers were ungloved and she pulled them out of her little pink snowsuit jacket. Her mom blew on them to warm them up. A false start or two and the girl, quite good at chords and her little voice ridiculously innocent in the quickly falling Colorado winter chill, the girl played her song and while I was watching her, wondering if they were poor, why would her mother have her out here, her fingers so obviously too cold to slide up metal guitar strings and I thought of how fortunate my son and I are. The song went on for awhile, it was a cute song about something I can’t even begin to recall. I gave her the rest of the cash in my pocket and asked her mother if they were alright. She pulled out some rainbow fingered gloves and said they’d be just fine.

What it appears to be isn’t always what it is, and with the vast imagination of human beings, what it really is you might never be able to tell. It’s the day after and somewhere someone is medical engineering, another man is mudbogging in 1989 Vanagon and hopefully that little girl is watching some silly TV show or having a hot bowl of oatmeal somewhere warm. As for me, I’ve got another week–a week spent with a great new magickal friend in sunny Florida, such welcome refuge from this Front Range frigidity–until I return to Pittsburgh to pick up the boy and begin planning out our wintertime warmly pursuits.