Most people in my life know this but it adds important context to this post: I love public transit. I like that I can people watch. I like that I’m surrounded by people but don’t have to talk to them. I like that it requires me to walk and be active. I like getting somewhere without using a single-occupancy vehicle. I like the challenge of figuring out how to get somewhere; sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard.
One of the book clubs that I belong to met this past Thursday evening. We had a belated white elephant book exchange (used or new) for Christmas. I didn’t have a book that I wanted to bring and had no idea what book I should get. I made a last minute trip to the Boulder Book Store which is a long-standing Boulder institution. They definitely did not disappoint. In my quest to find the perfect book, I discovered Nothing Daunted, about two society women from New York deciding to leave it all behind in 1916 to brave the pioneer life as schoolteachers in northwestern Colorado. (I definitely look forward to reading it myself; this mix of adventure, local context, and strong female protagonists sounds like a winning combination.) I was hoping the bookstore offered wrapping for a small fee for my last minute gift but they did even better – free self-service gift wrapping. The Boulder Book Store is here to meet all of your last minute book gift-giving needs.
Once I finished up at the book store I had about 30 minutes until I needed to catch the bus to head up to the book club so I went to the public library to hang out and get some work done. I love libraries and the Boulder Public Library especially. It is right on the Boulder Creek and has gorgeous views and unique architecture.
After a few minutes at the library, I proceeded to the bus stop to catch the bus I needed to get to the host’s home. By the time I got off it was quite dark and a little chilly. As I deboarded the bus, there were quite a few people around despite the darkness and the cold; someone boarding the bus, a couple seemingly walking home from the grocery store. The thing about Boulder is that despite being quite suburban, many people use alternative modes of transportation — walking, biking, public transit, etc. I don’t know why it still surprises me to see people using alternative modes even in inclement weather but sometimes it does.
Despite having a large proportion of alternative mode users (at least comparative to other suburban cities), Boulder doesn’t have robust infrastructure supporting alternative mode users, especially in less dense residential areas. As I was walking from the bus stop to the intersection of Lehigh St & Table Mesa Dr, I realized that the intersection was not well-lit at all; the nearest street lamp was quite far and someone would likely not be able to see me in the dark. Cars speeding through the right turn lane crosswalk as I stood next to it waiting to cross confirmed this suspicion (and induced visions in my head of me getting hit by a car going 35 mph – not pleasant).
As I was walking past Bear Creek Elementary I noticed a soft pink light emanating from NCAR on the hill above. It was really pretty and my low-quality iPhone photo does not do it justice. (iPhone cameras do not do very well in low light.) I paused to take said low-quality photo and to appreciate that walking places allows me to slow down and notice the beauty of random things around me.
Overall, the night was quite fun. I enjoyed visiting with people I hadn’t seen in a while, adding books to my ever growing list of books to read, and taking the trip there and the trip home.