At a recent wrap party for a local theater performance, a young actress — upon hearing that I’d soon be jet-setting for the bright lights, big city of the Big Apple — asked me simply, “Why are you coming back?”

Considering her line of work (let’s be painfully honest here), I could have easily countered with, “Why aren’t you going?” Instead, I tactfully said nothing. I guess I might have been worried that she had a point.

As a former Hollywood and New York acolyte, it’s a question I’ve been asked more than once since moving to Boulder. Often by myself (especially when not on my meds and in a German falsetto voice, but that’s for another column).

Here it’s clean, calm and even collected (re: the trash). But, New York has Pinche Taqueria, Earwax Records, the Sammay Hallal food cart in West Village and movie theaters that alerted me to theatrical releases of a new Godard film, a documentary on Bill Hicks, a new movie from the director of “Wendy & Lucy” and a doc on the ’70s underground film scene of New York itself. None of these movies will be playing Boulder and probably won’t even come to Denver.

Heck, I got to go to a Shepard Fairey show, and the red wine served was admittedly far superior to any I’ve imbibed at a Boulder First Friday.

Then again, in Boulder I don’t smoke cigarettes. After all, smoking (tobacco) here is tantamount to saying it’s actually OK to healthily, naturally express one’s anger as opposed to repressing it in deference to one’s “center” or whatever-the-hell.

In Boulder I can more easily operate under the delusion that what I’m doing has some modicum of impact on the community. You’re actually reading this, right? In print, no less! You’re not merely finding out about something I’ve written two years from now thanks to some faded, blog-promoting sticker crudely affixed to a filthy pole.

I also have to confess that, for the first time in my life, I saw New York City through the eyes of Annie Hall (the character, not the movie). What at first seemed colorful and exciting as always — the exotic accents, the cavalier attitude of melting-pot New Yorkers — slowly degenerated into what I found to be disturbing and downright suspicious.

I know why people are in Boulder. It’s beautiful, quaint, safe and mountainous. In Boulder, all anyone wants is some killer climbing gear, some tea or beer, a good book and maybe a Subaru. The reasons for being in NYC? Too many to be safe, if you ask me.

Boulder’s simple and NYC’s complicated. And who needs that? (The overlap being Boulder and New York drivers’ total disregard of pedestrians, particularly those legally traversing the crosswalk.)

Boulder might be a little silly and hypocritical (like me). But, NYC is very loud and obnoxious (also like me). So, what’s an ambivalent guy to do?

As for now, I’m off to a delectable Illegal Pete’s steak burrito and then I might treat myself to the very best pumpkin chocolate-chip bread and iced chai in existence, courtesy of Espresso Roma. From there, I’ll be off to the library to pick up whatever obscure, free DVD is waiting for me on hold. All this without a single subway!

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