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Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait

Today I drove through the Rockies’ game-day traffic. I was barely able to merge—twice; once on I-25 and again on Sixth Avenue. I attribute the recent influx in traffic to the legalization of pot. I’m not blaming weed directly, but the recent population growth has had its ups and downs. Denver is in vogue and we must deal with the consequences.

When weed was legalized, I had already left for California, one of a few places in the country that makes Denver’s traffic problems seem manageable. When I came back, the surge in population and construction had begun. In the blink of an eye, my home state had turned from a tranquil mountain paradise into a construction-laden hellscape. When I returned, I moved to the city for the first time in my life and learned what high-density living can do to a person. When people are stacked up on top of each other, whether it be on the road or in apartments, it can make people sick.    

I remember a recent story on Colorado Public Radio about a man being shot after he cut someone off in traffic. It made me realize that we’re all feeling the pressure of urbanization. We all live with this collective sickness inside of us. Not everyone will go to the lengths that the man did in that news story, but we all understand each other’s frustration without even knowing it.   

Perhaps, if we can all hurt collectively we can all heal collectively too. As I’m gearing up for Grandoozy this weekend, I feel an excitement building in my bones that I didn’t expect. I don’t know most of the bands and I won’t be going with anyone, but I won’t be going alone.

I can remember a time when I could hardly have imagined losing my temper, when I didn’t bother to drive, when I took light rail everywhere. Nowadays, anger and frustration seem to seep out of me like an overcharged battery. Though I’ve noted the change in my behavior, I haven’t found a healthy way to manage it yet. Then again, I haven’t danced in a while.

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