I noted in a post on Monday that I hear the “a” word being hurled quite a bit since I arrived in Denver. I heard it twice more from drivers while covering events downtown. A delegate was walking against the light and a driver who was apparently in a hurry, nonetheless took the time to assess the delegate’s anatomy. Our rental van has Texas plates and the people who drive it say they’ve been the target of an “a-bomb” or two.
What gives, Denver? Are those real Denverites? Is that the spirit of Denver? Or is there a difference between those who drive and people you might run into on the ground. I haven’t been here long enough to know and despite what you may have read in a local weekly that has an off-and-on relationship with accuracy, I’m not prepared to judge an entire population on the anecdotal evidence.
Just consider these as data points and see if, maybe, the Twin Cities can strive to make our guests feel welcomed next week.
I’ve found the volunteers to be predictably helpful and friendly. They’re supposed to be. And, besides, I’ve got a press credential around my neck. And even the cops have been friendly. On Monday, however, I spent some time “undercover.”
I posted myself at several corners for 15 minutes at a time, with a map unfurled, scratching my head, and looking as helpless and lost as I possibly could, to see if anyone would say, “can I help you find something?” I also counted the number of people who walked by me during my time as the country bumpkin.
Seven-hundred-17 people walked by me, and none volunteered to assist the more distressed elderly man I was — quite fictionally, mind you — portraying. Are you getting this, St. Paul?
But here’s the kicker. About an hour after that, I was on my way to an appointment near the Denver mint. I was no longer “pretending” to be lost. I really was. I took out my map, and looked up to check the street signs. A young couple walked past me, then turned and walked back to me.
“Can I help you find something?” he asked.
I’ll bet if he were in a car, he’d even let me cross against the light.