The idea for this column came to me as I eased my Subaru into a parking space at Whole Foods between two other Outbacks a few days ago. After climbing.
I’m such a stereotype.
The Suby. It’s one of my favorite categories of Only-in-Boulder moments. There’s nothing new about people in Boulder owning Subarus in high percentages. My husband and I made a game out of counting Subarus soon after moving here nine years ago, and there was nothing new about it then, either.
Jenn Fields’ Field Notes column appears in the Colorado Daily every Monday. Check out her blog at fieldnotes.pmpblogs.com .
But even after years of exposure to the extreme Subaru abundance — and driving one myself — I still have Suby moments that make me shake my head and laugh the Only-in-Boulder laugh.
Up until a few weeks ago, my favorite Suby moment happened during my stint at Backpacker magazine. The office manager came into my shared cube one day looking for the owner of a blue Subaru that needed to be moved from the front of the building.
“Mine’s silver,” I told her.
“Mine’s red,” said one editor.
“Mine’s green,” said another.
We all turned to look at our boss, who replied, “I don’t have a Subaru.” He turned back to his computer. “But my wife does.”
But my best Suby moment (to date) happened one recent evening after work.
It was getting late when I parked at the trailhead for Mount Sanitas, stuck my keys in my pocket and headed up the hill. But the keys banged at my hip. I didn’t want them smacking me the whole time I ran, so I skipped back down the trail, jamming away to my iPod, and stashed my keys under the lip of my bumper. (It’s the same not-at-all-secret stash everyone uses to ditch their car keys at trailheads everywhere that we all somehow feel is still sneaky.)
I jogged back up the trail and had a fantastic run. The sun had set; water gurgled down the verdant valley; the evening was fresh and perfect. What a lovely spring run! I thought as I returned to my car. I only wish I had more time! I was still panting as I stooped down to fish the keys out.
My keys weren’t there.
I felt around again. Did they slide? No. Did they fall to the ground? I looked under the car. No keys. Crap.
I searched all over again, not knowing what else to do. My brain pinged about for answers as mild panic set in. Maybe they fell out, and some nice person saw them and left them inside my car? No, it’s locked.
Ugh! I stood up and scratched my head with both hands. As I was thinking about running down the hill to a friend’s house, I took a few steps back and realized, with this slightly broader view, that next to my Subaru was another Subaru. Same model. Same color. Same ski rack on the roof. I examined the license plates to make sure I was searching under the correct car. I was.
No way. No way I hid my keys under the wrong Subaru.
My eyes darted for witnesses. It was embarrassing, after much flustered groveling under my car, to move and grovel under a stranger’s Suby.
But no one was watching. So I ducked down, slid my hand under the bumper and immediately felt my keys.
Amid my relief, I had another Only-in-Boulder thought: Thank goodness the owners of the other Suby went for a longer hike or run than me… oh no, they’re probably in better shape than me.
I really should have run further.