Hello, my name is Andra, and I’m new.
For the last four weeks, it’s as though I’ve been wearing a sign that reads something like, “Warning: neophyte. Slightly awkward. Likely disoriented. If lost, please return to Yellow Scene.”
I did get lost occasionally—and by occasionally, I mean every day—and it was actually the best thing I could have done.
Much like manual labor and tough childhoods, getting lost builds character. It challenges your sense of direction, your instincts, your creative use of profanities. And it’s the best way to initiate oneself into new surroundings: let go of the wall, take the training wheels off and jump in face first (excuse the mixed metaphors). It foarces you to find your way. The city you get lost in is a city you really get to know.
I’ll admit to you that the moment I stepped into Yellow Scene headquarters and this issue, I was lost. My bearings were scrambled, twisted and turned upside down. My mind got all fuzzy and achy.
I blame it on a little thing we call “Best of the West”: Yellow Scene’s blindingly large inventory (244 categories, to be exact) of staff and community favorites—everything from auto repair to breakfast burrito to teacher to dive bar—everyplace from Erie to Boulder, Longmont to Westminster, The Orchard to Pearl Street to Flatirons and everything in between. It was intoxicatingly confusing and head-spinningly, nerve-rackingly, mind-numbingly overwhelming. While my hometown is not more than 45 minutes north of here by way of highway, it all seemed so new, and as lame as it sounds, foreign.
Needless to say, I didn’t know the best chiropractor in East County. I didn’t know the best bartender in Boulder. And I didn’t know the best ready-made dinner place anywhere.
Again, I was lost.
But truth be told, I had to find my way fast. Slowly soaking in my surroundings was not an option.
For weeks, I pretended to be a local (which is hard to do when one is lost most of the time). I was the lonely shopper checking out leather sofas and oak desks in the vacant furniture store, the woman at the bar sipping a martini (dirty vodka, extra olives), the brunette who drooled over the patent-leather pumps in the front window of the Boulder shoe boutique. I was the one looking but not buying.
And the cool thing was that one second I was pretending to know where I was and the next I did know where I was. I was found—or at least a little less lost.
I’ve learned more about this community in the last four weeks than I likely would have in several months of interviewing, researching and investigating the people and places around me. I jumped into your everyday lives to discover the best of your world—and now my world—and learned how to be a resident, a consumer and a neighbor. I learned how to be a local.
What I love about this issue is that it lets us all feel like locals—it helps us feel like we know our cities, streets and stores; it helps us feel like we know our neighbors and neighborhoods; it gives us the comfort of knowing where to satisfy a burger craving.
It’s a very cool thing.
To us, “Best of the West” is all about celebrating the best of everyday life in Boulder County and the North Metro area, hence the photos you’ll see decorating the Best of the West pages: our winners literally celebrating being a part of your daily life.
Whether you are new to the area or a lifer, we hope that this issue gives you a sense of place and validates or improves your status as a local. More than anything, we hope it encourages you to get out and get lost, find something new and find the best.