I first noticed him while walking to the open space trail near my spacious, two-bedroom apartment in Arvada. The “trail” is not much more than an easement that runs along an irrigation channel, but it’s a good place to go look at mallards.
I go for walks to ease my mind and relieve stress, so I try to close my eyes when I walk past the ceramic — we will call it a “Sleeping Mexican” — piece of yard art taking a nap against the side of a three-bedroom home. I always remember the statue, because it’s a block or so away from the man who sits in his open garage with the Confederate flag and human profile target.
I shake my fist at the Sleeping Mexican. He’s wearing a sombrero and poncho combo. His knees are pulled up to his chest, and he’s taking a siesta. Every time I see him, I’m like, “Really? Really?”
The other day, I saw a pickup truck with a large American flag affixed to a flag pole anchored into the bed parked outside a nearby Chipotle. I was sitting in a Middle Eastern restaurant at the time. My neighbors listen to country music at concert-hall pitch on Saturday nights, and not the good kind. I’m sure they own multiple copies of “American Sniper.”
Man, what the hell is up with my neighborhood? This is supposed to be a big, cosmopolitan metro area, and I feel like half my neighbors just came from a Lee Greenwood concert that they paid extra to attend. (Disclosure: Lee Greenwood was played at my father’s funeral. That was permanently unsettling.)
I’m just going to go ahead and say it: Colorado is weird. It’s like it’s half vegans who run three marathons a week and half people who hunt vegans at marathons. In fact, I’m pretty sure my neighbors came home with a triathlete strapped to their hood the other evening. They certainly made a “we are carrying a struggling triathlete up the stairs” level of noise.
But I digress.
I’m really bothered by the Sleeping Mexican in the yard. I’ve never been overly politically correct, but I want to tell the owner, “Man, it’s 2019. Lose the Sleeping Mexican.” He or she, and I’m betting he, likely wouldn’t be too concerned about my concern. When I walk by, I often wonder what kind of horrors lurk in the backyard, closed off from the world by an eerily sterile white, plastic privacy fence. It’s almost certain they have a lawn jockey, maybe two.
Sometimes I plan “Operation Rescue the Sleeping Mexican,” but the go code is never issued for numerous reasons. Chief among them is the offending home has, some would say, a disturbingly well-manicured yard complete with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag flying on a 20-foot flag pole. The Gadsden Flag signals that the homeowner has assembled an arsenal of high-powered rifles to protect the yard art. He or she, and I’m betting on he, calls this collection “my right,” but we all know it’s a hobby.
I’m afraid that liberating the “Sleeping Mexican” will have to wait. Only an asshole gets killed over yard art.
Read more Bear: coloradodaily.com/columnists. Stalk him: twitter.com/johnbearwithme